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At least 7 shootings reported in Buffalo since Thursday

A man died after being shot multiple times in the torso in what police called a shootout in a parking lot of the Langfield Homes.

Two people were shot when a Buffalo man opened fire into a crowd in Allentown.

A couple from the Town of Tonawanda said their car was riddled with bullets when a group of men pulled up next to them on Bennett Village Terrace and one them got out of the car and starting firing.

A person was shot in the left forearm at East Delavan Avenue and William L. Gaiter Parkway.

And that was just Saturday.

A sudden spike in gun violence since Thursday has left one man dead and six people wounded in seven separate shootings.

Buffalo police said at least some of the shootings are connected and that most of the violence is “gang-related.” Investigators also are looking into whether feuds between groups on social media may have played a role in the gun violence.

“It's unfortunately not uncommon,” Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said Monday during a news conference. “But again we do see spikes from time to time. The majority of it is gang-related which makes unfortunately solving these and putting an end to them difficult because of the lack of cooperation from gang members.”

But police officials also pointed out that while the rash of shootings is troubling, the overall number of homicides and shootings are down this year compared to last.

This time last year, there had been 71 shootings and 18 homicides, said Buffalo police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge. So far this year, there have been 63 shootings including the ones over the weekend and 12 homicides this year.

But unlike previous years, Buffalo police will take a different approach to tackling the crime hot spots, Rinaldo said.

Previously, the department would deploy its Strike Force units, which would saturate neighborhoods with police officer and conduct traffic checkpoints, which watchdog groups have complained were heavy-handed tactics that unfairly targeted poor communities of color and sowed distrust of police.

Instead, the public can expect a more community-oriented approach where more officers would still be dispatched to the area but they would be told to listen to residents and work with them, Rinaldo said. It’s part of a community policing initiative Commissioner Byron Lockwood plans to unveil in the next few weeks.

“The purpose is to get our officers out of cars and not have to answer calls and go into communities to figure out exactly what resources are needed,” Rinaldo said.

The department already has added extra officers to patrols in areas that draw crowds including Chippewa and Allentown, Rinaldo said. He pointed out that in the shooting in Allentown, police officers already were in the neighborhood and arrested the suspect “within 10 minutes.”

Here's a timeline of the shootings:

Thursday, May 3, 7 p.m. – A man was shot in the left hand and both thighs during a robbery attempt at Seneca and Smith streets, police records show.

A 22-year-old Buffalo man was charged with assault in the case, police said Friday. The name of the suspected shooter has not been released.

Friday, May 4, 3 p.m. – A person was shot at Herkimer Avenue and Potomac Street and was taken to Erie County Medical Center for treatment.

Saturday, May 5, 1 a.m. – A 29-year-old man died from injuries he sustained in a shootout.

He was taken to Erie County Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The victim, who name has not been released, was shot multiple times in the torso during a shootout in the parking lot in the back of a residence on Langfield Drive in the Langfield homes.

Police found the victim lying on the pavement with a Colt .45-caliber semi-automatic gun in his possession, police records show.

He was taken to ECMC where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Investigators found evidence of two different caliber bullets at the scene, police said.

Saturday, May 5, 3:30 a.m. – Police charged a 36-year-old Buffalo man with two counts of assault and weapons possession in connection with a shooting early Saturday that injured two bystanders in Allentown, DeGeorge said Saturday.

Peter Pena is charged with shooting a 26-year-old man in the leg, and grazing the hand of a 21-year-old woman, DeGeorge said.

The shooting occurred near Allen and College streets, DeGeorge said. The two people injured were not the intended targets, police said. Detectives are investigating whether Pena and another male were involved in a dispute at the time of the shooting.

The injured man, a Hamburg resident, was taken to ECMC, where he is listed in fair condition, said DeGeorge.

The woman, who is from Depew, was treated and released by ECMC for a superficial wound to the hand, said DeGeorge.

Saturday, May 5, 2 p.m. – A Town of Tonawanda couple told Northeast District police that their car was riddled with gunfire as it was stopped at an East Side intersection.

The man and woman said they were not hurt, although seven or eight rounds were fired into their Nissan Altima at Bennett Village Terrace and Hill Street.

They told police they had stopped at the intersection when a white sedan pulled in front of them. A man with a handgun exited the right rear door of the sedan and began shooting.

There were bullet holes in both front doors, the left rear door, the left front window and the right rear tire. The couple fled back to Tonawanda before returning to Buffalo in another car and reporting the crime.

Saturday, May 5, 5:20 p.m. – A person was shot in the left forearm at East Delavan Avenue and William L. Gaiter Parkway, police records show.

Sunday, May 6, 2 a.m. – A 29-year-old man was listed in serious condition in ECMC after being shot on Pearl Street about 2 a.m. Sunday.

DeGeorge said Sunday that the victim, whose name was not released, appeared to have been targeted by the shooter, but police are still investigating the case. No arrest has been made.

The shooting occurred in the 300 block of Pearl Street, between West Huron and West Mohawk streets, just north of the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

Between April 26 and 29, there were five shootings in Buffalo that left three people wounded.

Three wounded in five shootings since Thursday in Buffalo

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