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Buffalo man takes plea in fatal shooting over stolen sneakers

The double shooting on East Amherst Street last September stood out, even in a month that saw more than its share of gunfire.

A man was found shot in his minivan. He died soon after police arrived. Another victim, 20 years younger, was just inside a neighborhood store. He was shot in the back and needed help.

Police and prosecutors know exactly who shot the two men – they shot each other. But no one is being charged for pulling the trigger that day. It made for some cryptic proceedings this week in State Supreme Court.

Javaughn Hogue, 19, was wounded last Sept. 14 when 39-year-old Saeed Moore was shot and killed. On Wednesday, events of the day caught up with him as Hogue pleaded guilty to a second-degree robbery that happened earlier that day and to criminal possession of a weapon – a gun he was carrying later.

In accepting the plea, Justice Russell P. Buscaglia carefully worded his questions to Hogue about when he had the illegal weapon and where that weapon may have been when the shooting occurred. The judge didn’t go any further, however, because a grand jury in December declined to indict anyone in the death of Moore, the man who died in the minivan.

Attorneys involved on both sides of the case agree on the fundamentals of what happened.

The violence started with a pair of sneakers.

Earlier in the day last Sept. 14, Hogue and a friend accosted another teen and ran off with his shoes – each taking one sneaker.

Hogue went home with the sneaker he had grabbed from Kalon Moore, Saeed Moore’s son. In Hogue’s mind, it was more a gag than a robbery, because what was he going to do with one sneaker?

The younger Moore wasn’t laughing. He contacted Hogue – they knew each other – and said Hogue better bring his shoes back. According to Hogue’s attorney, Thomas Eoannou, Moore also may have made some threats – threats that seemed serious enough to Hogue that he decided to take a gun with him before he left to meet the other teen near a neighborhood store.

Hogue knew something about threats and violence. His father, Robert Hogue, was killed when Javaughn was 12 – he was shot to death in a Bailey Avenue storefront he was working on. No one was ever charged in that case.

Kalon Moore knew about violent death, too. Saeed Moore shot and killed his own identical twin brother, Sadat Moore, in 2005, during an argument over a car. Saeed Moore pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter and spent nearly seven years in prison.

But by Sept. 14, Saeed Moore was a free man, and that day he also was an angry one. He went with his son to a spot near the corner of Parkridge Avenue and East Amherst Street to get the sneakers back and possibly to teach someone a lesson.

When Hogue showed up with the shoe, the elder Moore reportedly grabbed it and used it to batter Hogue while demanding he come up with its mate.

It could have stopped there, with a bruising for a bruising.

Instead, at some point in the confrontation, Saeed Moore also pulled out a gun.

Moore then ordered Hogue around the side of a building and, pointing the gun at his head, ordered him to his knees while threatening to kill him.

Hogue, terrified, expected to die – until Saeed Moore turned, briefly, to order his son to get in their car.

Hogue slipped his own weapon into his hand and fired upward before frantically racing away. The wounded Moore shot Hogue once in the back before climbing into the driver’s seat of his minivan and trying to drive away.

Hogue, meanwhile, made it to the nearby store.

When police arrived, they found the minivan crashed into a fence a short distance away. Despite the efforts of emergency responders, Moore died at the scene.

Hogue, seriously injured, was taken to Erie County Medical Center and recovered, although he still carries the bullet in his back. Two weeks after the shootings, he was arrested.

Hogue can expect to receive a prison term of three and a half years when he is sentenced April 13. Because of the grand jury’s no-bill in the death of Saeed Moore, the case is not classified as a homicide.