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Niagara Falls human rights commission member charged following shotgun blast

A member of the Niagara Falls Human Rights Commission has been accused of firing a shotgun into the back of an abandoned car, according to a city police report.

Denise M. Mejia was charged Monday with first-degree reckless endangerment after police were called to a report of gunfire near 15th Street and Pierce Avenue just before 2 p.m., according to the report.

A witness told police he saw a woman pull up into an alley behind the 1300 block of Pierce, get out of a red Jeep, fire once into the abandoned vehicle and unsuccessfully try to fire toward the second floor of a nearby building, according to the report. Mejia, 42, of 10th Street, was pulled over a few blocks away and officers found a shotgun on the front passenger seat of her red Jeep.

She told police her son loaded the shotgun for her and "it just went off" while it was in her possession, police said.

In September 2016, Mejia was appointed to a term on the human rights commission that expires at the end of December 2018.

In a written statement issued Tuesday, the commission said Mejia "proclaims her innocence."

"Her alleged actions were not in the capacity of a human rights commissioner, nor are they aligned with the mission and purpose of the Niagara Falls Human Rights Commission," the commission said.

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