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18-year-old accused of deadly East Side shooting spree was free on bail

Jaylin Wiggins was free on bail for robbery and gun charges when he went on a shooting spree in the early morning hours of Aug. 4.

When he was done shooting at two separate locations, one man was dead and three others wounds, police say.

After his arrest last March on charges of armed robbery, he never should have been released on bail, Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said.

But days after the March 13 arrest, Wiggins was free and some five months later Laron Watkins, 21, was dead.

Larry Watkins says he is grateful homicide detectives on Thursday charged Wiggins with second-degree murder in the shooting death of his son, but troubled that the alleged shooter was free on bail when his son was shot.

"I hate the fact that while he was out on bail he did what he did," Watkins said of Wiggins.

Derenda called it disheartening that individuals like Wiggins, who are charged with gun possession in the commission of violent crimes, end up back on the streets only to commit more violence.

"Our officers put their lives on the line each and every day in removing violent criminals and guns from our street, and it is disturbing to see a case when an individual is released and commits a murder," the commissioner said.

Wiggins allegedly was involved in two separate shooting on Aug. 4.

At 1:08 a.m., he allegedly shot a man on the 100 block of Maple Street. The victim was taken to Buffalo General Hospital, stabilized and transferred to Erie County Medical Center.

At 2:10 a.m. Wiggins allegedly shot and killed Laron Watkins and wounded two others in Sperry Park, off the 200 block of Sherman Street, while they were attending a birthday party.

Arrest records show that while Wiggins was free on bail, he had a second encounter with police on July 6. Officers arrested him on marijuana possession, driving without a license and passing a red light. City Court records show he was fined $100 and placed on a one-year conditional discharge to stay out of trouble.

After he was indicted in late July for the March armed robbery, his bail was increased to $125,000 by Judge David Foley in Erie County Court. Wiggins posted a bond and remained free.

Hours after the two separate Aug. 4 shootings, Wiggins was taken into custody and in September charged with attempted murder for the Maple Street shooting. He remains in custody at the Erie County Holding Center.

Homicide detectives also charged Wiggins with two counts of attempted murder for the two other individuals he allegedly shot at Sperry Park.

Derenda and other police take the position that people illegally carrying guns, especially those involved in acts of violence, should not be granted bail.

Larry Watkins offered another perspective.

"Some people charged with a gun don't really have the gun. They are around the gun. So I don't think everyone charged with a gun should be denied bail," Watkins said. "But like I said, I just hate the fact that Wiggins was out on bail for a gun and this happened to my son."

In thanking the homicide squad for its work, Watkins said he wanted to specifically give credit to Detective Timothy Salamone.

"From day one when my son got killed, Detective Salamone made a promise to me that he would not stop until the killer was caught and convicted," the father said.

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