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17-year-old arrested on murder charge; Tips from public helped police find Buffalo teen

A grieving family's push for information from the public about who shot and killed their son and brother helped lead Buffalo police to the suspected shooter.

Joshua Nieves-Castro, a 17-year-old Buffalo youth sought for a month as a "person of interest" in the fatal shooting May 27 of Jay Amelio Nieves, was being held without bail Sunday in the Erie County Holding Center, awaiting arraignment in Erie County Court.

Nieves-Castro, of Philadelphia Street, was taken into Buffalo police custody Saturday and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Nieves. The suspect and the victim are not related.

Nieves-Castro was apprehended at about 3:15 p.m. without incident inside a residence on West Delavan Avenue near Grant Street.

Buffalo police had received information indicating that Nieves-Castro, who was born in Puerto Rico, was planning to flee the area -- and perhaps even the country, said Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards.

Acting on a tip, they sent a SWAT team to the West Delavan address, and Nieves-Castro surrendered peacefully.

Information from the public, said Richards, was crucial to locating Nieves-Castro, who was recently indicted by a grand jury on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a loaded firearm.

"The family got a lot of information from the public," said Richards. "We got lots of tips from concerned citizens."

A judge Wednesday issued an indictment warrant for Nieves-Castro's arrest.

The victim's sisters and mother put out a public appeal earlier this month to help find the killer.

CrimeStoppers offered a $1,000 reward in the search for Nieves-Castro, and the amount was doubled to $2,000 by the victim's employer, Contract Specialist Inc., for the arrest and conviction of the shooter.

Nieves was shot at 5:20 a.m. in a home in the 100 block of Vermont Street. With the help of a friend, he was able to get out of the house, but he collapsed on Vermont Street near West Avenue.

Families members said Nieves was a member of the Army National Guard and had defended a friend who was in a fight at a Chippewa Street bar in the hours before the shooting.

Losing the fight, Nieves-Castro sought out Nieves later with the intent to shoot and kill him, according to the victim's family.

e-mail: jtokasz@buffnews.com