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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Police continue search for suspect in homicide

Buffalo homicide detectives Monday continued to search for a suspect in the fatal shooting of a city man on East Ferry Street between Fillmore Avenue and Kehr Street at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Hassan Jabbar, 25, was taken to Erie County Medical Center but died shortly after arriving, said Dennis J. Richards, chief of detectives. The suspect in the shooting was described only as a black male with red hair and wearing a blue shirt. Police believe the victim knew his attacker.

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Body of Niagara Falls man recovered from Erie Canal

NORTH TONAWANDA -- The body of a Niagara Falls man who did not know how to swim and jumped into the Erie Canal off Sweeney Street on Sunday night has been recovered.

Jeffrey Banks, 26, was boating with friends at about 8 p.m. A group of adults, who were on a small power craft, began yelling that someone had gone into the water and had not resurfaced, said a waitress at the Dockside Inn.

The young man had been on the boat's side ladder, the waitress said. Several of his fellow boaters jumped in the water to try and locate him but were not successful, the waitress said.

Banks was told the water was shallow enough and he would have no problem getting back onshore, police said.

When Banks failed to surface, friends searched that section of the canal until rescue crews arrived. His body was recovered by City of Tonawanda police and divers late Sunday.

North Tonawanda police and fire units, as well as the Coast Guard, assisted in the search.

North Tonawanda police noted swimming is barred in the canal.

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CPR skills a lifesaver in Alden near-drowning

An Alden mother trained in CPR saved her 6-year-old daughter Sunday evening after the little girl was pulled out of the family's backyard pool unresponsive and not breathing, Erie County sheriff's officials said.

Deputies and emergency crews responded to the family's Sandridge Road home shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, after being told that the girl had been underwater for some time before she was pulled out.

Her mother performed CPR, and after about a dozen breaths, the child began breathing on her own and regained consciousness, according to sheriff's reports. She later was taken to Women & Children's Hospital for precautionary reasons.

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Guilty plea entered in pot distribution case

A Buffalo man pleaded guilty in Buffalo federal court Monday to conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten said David North Sr., 43, conspired with Derek Frank as part of a drug-distribution network in Buffalo.

She said the defendant was paid to drive a pickup truck with marijuana hidden inside from Phoenix to Buffalo.

North is the latest defendant to be plead guilty in a case that already has netted a federal security officer, a Buffalo City Hall employee and a US Airways workers. Frank, the ring leader of the group, also has pleaded guilty.

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Man accused of setting fire to vehicle following crash

PORTER -- A Niagara Falls man faces charges, including driving while intoxicated, following a car crash that state police said led him to torch the vehicle with a girl inside Sunday afternoon.

Troopers from the Niagara barracks responded to a vehicle fire on the Robert Moses Parkway in the Town of Porter at about 3:40 p.m. The investigation later determined that Christopher G. Pakosigan, 31, crashed his Mercedes-Benz into a stop sign at Lake Road, while he was intoxicated, with two juveniles in the car, according to police.

Troopers also said they learned that Pakosigan ignited the vehicle after the collision, while one of the passengers was still inside; that passenger was able to escape the burning car.

The investigation also revealed that Pakosigan engaged in sexual contact with the two juvenile females earlier in the day while in the City of Niagara Falls, troopers said.

Pakosigan faces charges of second-degree arson, criminal sexual act, aggravated DWI (under Leandra's Law) and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, police said.

Pakosigan was arraigned in Porter Town Court early Monday and jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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Not-guilty pleas entered in pair of DWI cases

LOCKPORT -- A North Tonawanda woman has pleaded not guilty in Niagara County Court to an indictment accusing her of driving drunk with four children in her car.

Michelle A. Lorenc, 45, of Woodward Avenue, is charged with aggravated and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child. The siblings, ages 7, 8, 12 and 15, were her passengers when North Tonawanda police pulled her over March 2.

In another arraignment, Ronald A. Bugyi Jr., 39, of New Road, Ransomville, pleaded not guilty to felony and aggravated DWI and driving left of center. He was arrested in Wilson on May 11.