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Lockport shooting suspect charged with hate crime

LOCKPORT – A Lockport man faces hate crime charges following a shooting early Wednesday morning, but investigators aren’t saying why they believe the alleged act warrants the charge.

Police said they found Colton Baker-Durst, 20, on the ground near Church and Green streets after responding to a call of shots fired around 12:25 a.m.

Josiah J. Chandler, 18, of Genesee Street, was charged with second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime, as well as assault and weapons possession.

Police would not say what they believe Chandler did that would make the shooting a hate crime. Lockport Police Chief Lawrence Eggert would only say it was based on the “totality of evidence” investigators have amassed, and the decision was made in consultation with the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office.

The hate crime charge carries with it the option for a stiffer sentence, should there be a conviction. Eggert declined to provide any details about how the nature of the incident led authorities to levy the hate crime charge.

Baker-Durst, who is from Lockport, was shot more than once, though police were not specific about how many times. He was taken to Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport and then by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center, where he was in critical condition Wednesday night, according to police.

Eggert said police did not have a chance to determine the number of times Baker-Durst was shot because of the need to rush him for medical attention.

Investigators believe Baker-Durst was shot near where he was found. They weren’t completely sure whether the suspect and victim knew each other, but do not believe they did, Eggert said.

Police also would not release any details about what kind of gun was used because the investigation is ongoing.

Authorities have had some contacts with Chandler for minor criminal matters over the past year, Eggert said.

Chandler, who was arraigned before Lockport City Judge William Watson and held on $250,000 bail is due in court again next week.