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Police abandon search for pair in Smokin’ Joe’s shooting

A search by air and by ground for two men wanted in a shooting Wednesday afternoon outside of Smokin’ Joe’s Trading Company in Sanborn was called off Wednesday night and was not resumed on Thursday.

Area roads were reopened to traffic Wednesday night and Niagara Wheatfield High School was open as usual on Thursday.

“We searched to the best of our ability and we are comfortable in saying that they are not in the immediate area,” said Undersheriff Michael J. Filicetti.

He said detectives have the name of a suspect and are going to focus their efforts on locating him.

He could not provide details of the incident or whether the victims knew the suspects, but noted that the robbery “does not appear to be random.”

At about 4 p.m. Wednesday two men were robbed by the two men in the parking lot of the store at 2293 Saunders Settlement Road. An unidentified 48-year-old man was shot in the leg by a rifle. The shooting victim was released after treatment at Erie County Medical Center.

The two suspects got away with an undetermined amount of cash.

After the shooting the school was put in lockdown while three SWAT teams from Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda and the sheriff’s department searched the area for the men. Helicopters from the sheriff’s office and Border Patrol also searched the area looking for men including the one suspect who was still believed to be armed.

Filicetti said they one person did tell them the suspects were able to flee in a car, but added that has not been confirmed.

“Anyone with any knowledge of the robbery or the suspects should absolutely contact us,” said Filicetti.

The first robber was described as weighing about 310 pounds, about 5 feet 9 or 5 feet 10 inches tall with red hair; he was wearing a red shirt with “Echo” on the front, beige shorts and black shoes.

The second man had a thin build and was about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and was wearing a camouflage hoodie and dark pants.