Shanita Chapman, 30, was arraigned in Buffalo City Court on one count of intentional murder in the death of Upendra Bawa, 78. She waived indictment by a grand jury and is being held without bail.
Chapman was arrested Dec. 14 by Buffalo Police. A source close to the investigation said at least two more arrests are expected in the case.
Bawa was a longtime resident of Buffalo and had run the Taste of Life restaurant for more than 20 years. On July 19, his body was found in an apartment upstairs from the restaurant in the 800 block of Sycamore Street. It is believed he had been dead for about two days.
An autopsy by the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that Bawa had died from blunt force trauma and in August the death was ruled a homicide.
The killing shocked and saddened neighbors who had relied on Bawa’s store for years.
“It was kind of a one-man operation,” said Murray Holman of the Stop the Violence Coalition. “He was feeding the community. He was very well-respected. If you didn’t have money, he would give food to you anyway. He was well-respected across the board.”
Holman said Bawa’s killing didn’t make any sense to the people who knew him in the neighborhood.
“Whoever the people are who did this, maybe they didn’t know him like that,” he said.