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Police probe 2 shootings downtown

Two people were shot downtown Monday night in what investigators believe was a drug-related incident.

A group of patrons who were smoking outside a bar at Main and Locust streets, just before 11 p.m., said a man drove up and asked for help, telling them he just been shot. He had been shot in the hand, according to bar owner John George.

The man was unfamiliar with Lockport, said Detective Capt. Richard Podgers, chief of detectives, and had driven around the city until he found the group outside the bar. He was then taken from the scene by ambulance.

A second man had been shot in the abdomen about half a mile away, in the 300 block of Washburn Street, Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert said.

Police did not release the names of the men who were shot.

Podgers said investigators determined that the shootings took place in a home at 271 Locust St.

"The investigation is continuing, and we have some leads on the people who were in the home," Podgers said.

George, the owner of the 21st Amendment bar, said the man who was shot in the hand originally pulled up in his car and asked for directions to the hospital but then started getting woozy and asked for someone to drive him to the hospital.

"It was like, 'No, you're shot. We're calling the police,' " George said. "We ended up calling the police and paramedics. Police were here in 10 seconds."

George, whose bar opened a year ago, said there first had been some rumors that there was a problem at his business, because of how the call came in.

"We knew full well, when that guy pulled up, that the investigation would start here, but we have been cleared of everything," George said. He said there has never been any problems at his business.

The man who was shot in the hand was treated in Eastern Niagara Hospital, Lockport, and released. Eggert said that the man also had head injuries but was uncooperative in explaining how he was injured and shot.

The second man was transferred from Lockport to Erie County Medical Center, where he underwent surgery Monday night for injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening, Podgers said.

No arrests were reported as of Tuesday. Investigators consulted with the Niagara County District Attorney's Office, Eggert said.

"At this point there's not enough evidence to charge anyone," Eggert said of the continuing investigation.