A Cheektowaga man was wounded early Sunday when gunfire broke out among a crowd of more than 100 young people in the parking lot at a Town of Tonawanda restaurant where a non-alcohol DJ party was being held.
No one was arrested in the shooting, but the restaurant owner was charged with second-degree criminal nuisance and taken into custody for several hours before he was released.
It was the fifth time that Jimmy Ying, owner of Ying’s Wings and Things at 2309 Eggert Road, has been charged with criminal nuisance since Sept. 14 when he started renting part of the restaurant to a promoter for the Saturday night parties but the first time he was taken into custody on the charge.
As a result of the shooting, he said, he plans to stop renting out the space for the weekend parties. “I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Ying said But he said the restaurant, which he has operated since 1988, is still open for business.
Ying, 52, of Clarence, who is also known as Haibo Jiang, said Town of Tonawanda police have been harassing him because the parties attract blacks. He also said that some officers have used racial slurs in referring to blacks and to his Chinese ancestry. He said he has filed a racial-discrimination complaint with the NAACP and the State Attorney General’s Office, which he said is investigating.
Police declined to comment and referred a reporter to the department spokesman, Lt. Nicholas A. Bado, who was not available.
The department has recently been accused of racial profiling by two black men who alleged that they were stopped by police, one in connection with a bank robbery and the other in connection with police surveillance of an area for threatened criminal activity. Police have denied the accusations.
Police said officers in the area of Sheridan Drive and Eggert heard multiple gunshots at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday in Ying’s parking lot.
When they arrived, they saw a crowd yelling and fleeing. The officers requested assistance from other police agencies “due to the chaotic nature of the scene.”
The officers found that Errick E. Roseboro, 20, had been shot in his lower left leg. Police said he was taken to the Erie County Medical Center, where he was treated and released. Police said the shooter has not been identified.
Ying said he lost his liquor license two years ago over allegations that he was serving alcohol to minors. He said a local promoter, whom he identified as 100 Entertainment, approached him earlier this year about renting out the unused bar area for non-alcohol parties for young people, saying underage college students needed a place other than bars where they could socialize.
He agreed, and the first party was held Sept. 14. He said another tenant in the plaza where his restaurant is located complained to police about the parties. He said police claimed that alcohol was being consumed at the parties.
“The officers told me I was attracting criminals” to the area, Ying said, adding that police used racial slurs in referring to him and those attending the parties. He also said officers have ticketed him and his delivery drivers and have threatened to shut down his business. He said he has complained to a police captain about the officers.
Ying said that the parties attracted 100 to 140 people and that the promoter provided up to seven security guards to check customers for age, drugs, alcohol and weapons. He said he also hired four security guards for his restaurant on party nights. Sunday was the first time that there was gunfire at any of the parties, he said.
After being taken into custody for the first time on a criminal nuisance charge, Ying said, he was released later Sunday morning on his own recognizance. He is due in Town Court next month.