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2 held in street slaying of officer's brother

An around-the-clock investigation into the fatal shooting of a Buffalo police officer's teenage half-brother ended early Saturday in the arrests of two young men.

Nathaniel Williams, 20, of Strauss Street and Marvin Q. Howard, 23, of East Utica Street were charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of handguns in the slaying of 16-year-old Ke'one Littlejohn.

Ke'one was the younger half-brother of Officer Cedric Littlejohn, a well respected officer in the Ferry-Fillmore District where the killing occurred.

Ke'one was gunned down at about 3:45 p.m. Thursday by two men who chased him on the 400 block of Sherman Street, homicide investigators said.

"They got them," said Ke'one's uncle, Donald Brown, after hearing the news Saturday morning about the arrests. "I'm glad of that."

Brown said that Ke'one was familiar with his assailants.

Both suspects in the slaying have lengthy arrest records, mostly related to drugs, police said, although a motive for the killing remained undetermined Saturday.

Detective Sgt. James P. Lonergan credited community members for coming forward with crucial information that led detectives to an eyewitness.

"It just shows you that when people come forward what can be done," Lo nergan said. He said the suspects "have not provided us with a reason behind the shooting."

In addition to seeking a motive, detectives are trying to locate the two handguns used to kill Ke'one Littlejohn.

Williams and Howard, who are being held without bail at the Erie County Holding Center, fired several shots at the teen, police said.

The investigation began to pick up steam Friday afternoon when Detectives William Donovan, Mark Lauber and Mark Vaughn began their shift and received information on a witness they located and questioned.

By 5 a.m. Saturday, the two accused suspects were at Police Headquarters and under arrest. As of late Saturday, the investigation continued, with police searching for a third individual wanted for questioning.

Family members and officials described Ke'one Littlejohn as a teenager who had a difficult life. His father died unexpectedly four years ago and his mother is in prison on a 2002 attempted arson conviction.

In January, Ke'one ran away from the Baker-Victory Services Residential Program, a group home for adolescents with emotional and behavioral challenges in Lackawanna, said program spokeswoman Beth Donovan.

While she couldn't discuss the specifics of Ke'one's case, Donovan said youths are typically referred to their program through Family Court. In the case of a runaway, Baker-Victory staff work with the courts, police and family to try to relocate them.

As Ke'one remained missing from the group home for an extended period of time, a judge eventually discharged him from Baker-Victory's care, Donovan said.

In recent weeks, Ke'one was believed to have been staying at a drug house on Sherman Street, near where he was killed, his uncle said.

Brown explained that the boy's mother, Donnette Littlejohn, had written a letter to a city judge pleading for help in getting her son out of the house.

"She begged them from her jail cell to get her son out of the dope house," Brown said.

Police said Ke'one's history does not diminish the tragedy of his death.

"His whole life was taken away from him. He doesn't get married. He doesn't have children. His life was snuffed out. He was a kid, not even an adult," said Homicide Detective Mark R. Stambach.

Other homicide investigators said the case did not receive extra attention because the victim was related to a police officer. "This case just fell together like many other cases, but some cases don't come together," said Detective Reginald Minor, who also worked on the case, along with Detective Patrick Judge.

e-mail: lmichel@buffnews.com and mbecker@buffnews.com

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