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Falls man gets 15-year prison term in Buffalo triple shooting

A Niagara Falls man who shot three people last year on a street on Buffalo’s East Side while he was on a crack cocaine binge was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison.

“It’s fortunate for you that they lived,” State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang told Ricky Grace before sending him to prison for attempted murder, assault, criminal use of a firearm and criminal possession of a weapon.

Any one of the victims, including a man who was shot in the back of the head, could have died after the drug-related shootings Oct. 26, 2013, on Townsend Street, she said.

“They were saved because of the heroic treatment they received at Erie County Medical Center,” she said, citing the doctors’ efforts to keep them alive.

Grace had been on a crack binge for days at the time of the shootings, which stemmed from a dispute over marijuana, Assistant District Attorney Paul C. Parisi said.

He told the judge that the 42-year-old shooter was part of a gang that distributed marijuana in the Townsend area and that he should be taken off the streets.

Grace started using crack to deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered as a result of his military service and now takes medication for his mental health problems, according to defense attorney Robert M. Goldstein.

Grace was convicted last month by a jury on three counts each of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and first-degree criminal use of a firearm, and one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Prosecutors said Grace shot Brandon Washington in the face at point-blank range, shattering his jaw. He then shot Jovonna Davis, who was sitting in a car, four times in the chest, also at point-blank range.

Grace next shot Charles Washington in the back and pelvis as he tried to run away.

Grace’s brother, co-defendant Dennis Triplett, picked Washington up off the ground and told Grace, “He ain’t dead yet; finish him off.”

Grace walked up to Washington and fired a bullet into the back of his head.

Although the victims survived, they suffered serious and debilitating wounds, prosecutors said.

Triplett, 40, of Buffalo, pleaded guilty earlier this month before Wolfgang to the attempted-murder, assault and weapon-possession charges. Prosecutors said he provided the unlicensed semiautomatic handgun that his brother used in the shootings and gave him the signal to open fire on the victims.

After the shootings, the two defendants fled in Triplett’s sport utility vehicle.

Triplett will be sentenced Jan. 2.