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POLICE & COURTS - Niagara

Four barred from dance accused of inciting riot

NIAGARA FALLS -- Four juveniles were charged with inciting a riot after being barred from a dance Friday night in the St. John de LaSalle Church gymnasium on Buffalo Avenue, city police said.

The four yelled racial slurs at police and ran through the church parking lot, pounding on windows and attacking passers-by, according to reports. A 14-year-old was punched in the throat and suffered a chipped tooth and bloody nose.

Police said the youths ran through yards and threw objects around before they were apprehended. All four were to be petitioned to Niagara County Family Court on charges that included disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly.

Police said the youths became upset at about 8:15 p.m. upon learning that the gym was already filled to capacity and they would not be admitted.

It was the second such incident in recent weeks during dances in the church facility.

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Arrest follows shootout in housing complex

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Falls Street man was arrested Friday night after a "Wild West"-style shootout in the Centre Court housing development, city police said.

Officer Patrick Hennegan and Detective Celestine Booze charged Fajri J. Hilson, 21, with first-degree assault after he was tracked to a house on the 1800 block of Niagara Avenue, police said.

Witnesses told police that two men ran through the housing complex just before 8 p.m., firing semiautomatic weapons at each other. Witnesses reported hearing at least 10 shots, and at least one resident found spent shell casings, which were turned over to police.

The gunplay continued moments later, when a car pulled up to the corner of 20th Street and Centre Avenue and a passenger began shooting at a man fleeing from the first incident. No one was injured in either instance, police said.

After a vehicle description was broadcast, Hennegan followed a car to the Niagara Avenue location and noticed spent shell casings in its rear window area. Police said they later arrested Hilson and released another man who was with him.

Police were questioning a second man, but he had not been formally charged as of Saturday night.

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Gunman robs two men as they sit on porch

Two men on a porch on Howell Street early Saturday were surprised by a gunman who walked up and robbed them, police reported.

The victims said the man approached them shortly after 3 a.m. and pulled out a gun.

The men were told to lie down, or they would be shot. The gunman then stole $36 from them and fled down Grote Street toward Military Road, Northwest District officers said.

Northwest District officers said the suspect fled on Grote Street toward Military Road.

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Chain-reaction crash probed in Grimsby

GRIMSBY, Ont. -- Canada's Ministry of Transportation was investigating a chain-reaction crash on Mountain Road, set off by brake failure on a bus that rolled down an escarpment and damaged numerous other vehicles.

Four people suffered minor injuries in the accident Friday, and the damage to cars and the bus was estimated at $30,000, Niagara Regional Police reported.

Police said the brakes failed at about 10 a.m. on a former school bus, now owned by Calvary Pentecostal Church of Dunnville.

"The bus continued westbound down the escarpment when the driver encountered a line of vehicles stopping due to a vehicle turning into a private driveway," said M. Ted Riehl, police spokesman.

The bus careened downhill, striking a Volvo. The Volvo then struck a Toyota, which then struck a Buick.

The bus then hit a rock retaining wall and a utility pole, police said.

The 33-year-old bus driver from Dunnville and three others were treated in local hospitals for minor injuries.

Police said mechanical faults that were found on the bus are expected to lead to charges.

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