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Bailey Avenue man charged with murdering Cheektowaga shopkeeper

A Bailey Avenue man has been charged with murder in the death of a Cheektowaga shopkeeper at his Walden Avenue home and business in the summer. Police believe that the killer was in the midst of a burglary when the victim was slain.

Kevin Schwartz, 45, reportedly was free on parole July 6 when Cheektowaga police responded to a report of a disturbance at Collectors Emporium, 1082 Walden Ave. Officers entered through a backdoor at about 9:30 p.m. and found Lawrence Cassata, 67, on the floor inside the building. At the same time, police reported, someone was seen fleeing out a side door.

A chase ensued and officers apprehended Schwartz a few blocks away. Schwartz was arrested on a parole violation and has been in custody since that night.

Authorities say Cassata, who also lived at 1082 Walden, died from blunt-force trauma and also may have suffered a cardiac event during the attack.

Schwartz was arraigned Tuesday in Erie County Court on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree burglary.