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Teen dies after shots are fired from vehicle

A 16-year-old Cheektowaga youth was shot to death early Sunday, just steps away from Bissonette House -- the halfway house where Sister Karen Klimczak ministered to ex-convicts before she was murdered April 14, Good Friday.

His brother, then 18, also was shot to death on an East Side street 10 years ago.

Police said that at about 2:50 a.m. Sunday, the victim, Kevin Lamont Gray, and three friends -- two youths ages 16 and one 17 -- were walking on Durham Avenue after visiting a store at East Delavan Avenue and Grider Street and were headed to the nearby home of one of the friends' relatives.

A car containing as many as four people drove up, and a man sitting in the front seat sprayed a flurry of bullets at them, before racing away.

"There was some sort of confrontation with some people in a car, and he was shot in the head," Chief of Detectives Dennis J. Richards said.

Neighbors said they heard four to seven shots and saw Kevin lying face-down on the concrete.

An ambulance rushed him to Erie County Medical Center -- just one block away -- but he died from his injuries at 7:20 a.m. He became the city's 72nd homicide victim of the year.

Richards said he did not know why Kevin, who lives on Pine Ridge Terrace in Cheektowaga, was on a Buffalo street so late in the night.

"Sixteen years old is awful young to be victimized," he said. "It's very unfortunate that we've been seeing a trend this year with younger and younger victims and younger and younger offenders."

Kevin's mother, Pamela Jordan-Collier, said his older brother, Antonio Jordan, 18, was shot to death in May 1996 on Roehrer Avenue, not far from where the family then lived. Jordan was shot in what police believed was a drug turf war being fought by two gangs. The gunmen remain at large.

"There were many similarities," said their mother, who is active with the PEACE organization in the struggle against street violence. "They both were 6-feet-2 to 6-feet-3. Antonio loved basketball, and Kevin loved football. That was my only two children."

Kevin was a ninth-grader at Burgard Vocational High School. In Little League, he played running back and defense on his football team at the Johnny B. Wiley Center. He also was the forward on his basketball team in the New York Youth Coalition Program at Martin Luther King Park.

Several residents of the quiet residential street reflected on the city's homicide rate -- far more than the 56 for all of 2005.

None of them knew the victim, but all wondered what was happening to this generation of youths.

The homicide occurred beside the church hall of Ephesus Ministries, at 80 Durham Ave., and the church, next door at 341 Grider. The church is beside Bissonette House.

The Rev. Jeff Carter, a community activist and pastor at Ephesus Ministries, worked closely with Klimczak against violence.

"It came right back home again, and it's still very, very painful," said Carter. "Bissonette House is next door to our church, and Sister Karen did much of her planning right here at this church and, of course, at the Bissonette House."

e-mail: vthomas@buffnews.com and acardinale@buffnews.com

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