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Fatal shooting of man is
city's 19th homicide of year

Buffalo homicide detectives are investigating the fatal shooting of a man believed to be about 20 years old Wednesday afternoon on Hazel Place near the intersection with Goemble Avenue.

Police were called to the scene, off Walden Avenue, at about 3:20 p.m. and were told by area residents that gunfire erupted at about 3:15 p.m.

Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards said initial reports indicated the gunman – who stood about 6 foot 2 and wore a gray hoodie sweatshirt – approached the victim and shot him.

It is the 19th homicide in the city this year.

Police at the scene said the victim was shot at least twice in the head and was taken to the Erie County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

The shooting took place in a neighborhood marked by vacant, grass-filled lots where fire-damaged or abandoned homes had been demolished and where litter, including an abandoned television set, lay on the curbs.

Police cordoned off the crime scene with yellow tape and searched area backyards for clues. Anyone with information is asked to call the Confidential Tipcall Line at 847-2255, text a tip to 847-2255 or submit a tip online at


Falls police have suspect 
in fatal hit-and-run accident

Niagara Falls police Wednesday arrested a man they believe is the driver who struck and killed a 26-year-old Falls woman and struck and injured the woman's 6-year-old son while they were carrying groceries across Hyde Park Boulevard on June 18.

Police Superintendent John Chella told The Buffalo News late Wednesday that a suspect was in custody and that the car he allegedly was driving in the fatal accident has been seized and is in police custody.

Chella said he and other police officials are conferring with the Niagara County District Attorney's office on the appropriate charges to lodge against the man, whom he declined to identify.

A news conference on the arrest is scheduled to take place today, Chella said.

Nicole Rodriguez died in Erie County Medical Center one day after the hit-and-run accident.

The arrest of the suspect came about 24 hours after Niagara Falls police released enhanced video of the maroon car believed to have been involved in the crash.


State troopers arrest three
in three unrelated stops

State troopers arrested three people in Buffalo on Tuesday night as part of a multi-agency strike force.

The first arrest came at 5:30 p.m., when troopers conducting a road check at East Amherst Street and Manhattan Avenue stopped a car and charged a rear passenger, Shavon M. Zachery, 36, of Buffalo, on an outstanding felony probation arrest warrant from the state of Georgia. Zachery was charged with criminal impersonation and unlawful possession of marijuana. Georgia officials were planning to extradite Zachery.

Shortly before 10 p.m., troopers stopped a vehicle on Genesee Street and Bailey Avenue for seat belt and dark window-tint violations. The front seat passenger, Michael J. Pace Jr., 26, of Buffalo, had an outstanding warrant for criminal contempt out of Cheektowaga.

Then, at about 11:15 p.m., troopers stopped a vehicle on Liddell Street for an unsafe turn. The driver, Delmar Speed, 31, was found to be in possession of a small rock of crack cocaine and charged with possession of a controlled substance.


Not-guilty plea made
in beating of boxer

LOCKPORT – A Town of Niagara man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of beating a professional boxer with an unknown metal object.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas continued bail at $50,000 for Michael P. Vicki, 30, of Portland Street, who was indicted on charges of first-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Vicki allegedly inflicted gashes requiring more than 200 stitches on the head of Niagara Falls junior middleweight Nick Casal, 21, in a May 12 fight over a woman that erupted after Casal took a taxi to Vicki's home.


Two-year prison term
given for drug felonies

LOCKPORT – A Buffalo man drew two years in state prison this week for a pair of drug felonies.
Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III imposed the sentence Tuesday on Eli L. Clark, 21, of Fuller Street, who had admitted to two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance in separate incidents.

Clark was caught with 0.65 ounces of crack cocaine Jan. 30 in the Sunrise Motel in Niagara Falls.

Last summer, he pleaded guilty to having two-tenths of an ounce of crack when police raided his apartment on Bryant Street in North Tonawanda March 25, 2011. Another case from early this year, in which Clark was charged with selling narcotics in North Tonawanda, was dismissed as part of a plea deal.