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Woman says man accused of fatal stabbing at McKinley Mall threatened her, too

The fatal stabbing of a woman at the McKinley Mall Wednesday is not the first time the suspect, Keith R. Sparks, has been accused of acting violently toward a woman with whom he previously had a romantic relationship.

In January 2010, a woman who already had an order of protection against Sparks, accused him of threatening to kill her, according to a Buffalo police report.

Sparks previously held her at knifepoint, she told police.

“He’s my son’s father,” the woman told The Buffalo News on Thursday in an online chat message, “and he tried to stab me, as well.”

Sparks faces murder and weapons charges in connection with Wednesday’s killing of his ex-girlfriend, 38-year-old Mallicia U. Tipps of Buffalo, at the McKinley Mall in Hamburg. Sparks, 43, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday in Hamburg Town Court.

In the 2010 case, the victim told police Sparks was upset she had custody of their then-3-year-old child, as well as being ordered to pay child support, according to the police report.

Buffalo police on Thursday said the case had been sealed and no further information was available.

In another run-in with police, Sparks was sentenced to 105 days in jail in connection with a March 2002 hit-and-run crash, according to police and court records. He was accused of leaving the scene of a crash on Berkshire Avenue, near Bailey Avenue, and later shoving a police officer and trying to flee while in custody inside Buffalo police headquarters, according to the report.

Sparks pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor escape charge and a traffic violation of leaving a crash scene in that case, according to Buffalo City Court records.

Tipps’ family is all too familiar with violence as well.

In 2005, Tipps’ then-fiancé was killed in a triple-shooting outside a birthday party on East Delavan Avenue, according to the man’s obituary published in The Buffalo News.

Keith R. Sparks is led into Hamburg Town Court for his arraignment on Thursday morning. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

At Sparks’ arraignment Thursday, onlookers yelled “lady killer” and “clown” at him as he walked out of the courtroom.

When Hamburg police were transporting Sparks to the Erie County Holding Center a short time later, a man in a Jeep followed officers for a time, Hamburg Police Capt. Kevin Trask said. The driver followed the prisoner transport until about the area of Bayview Road. Police lost sight of the vehicle when they reached Route 5, Trask said.

In addition to the second-degree murder charge, Sparks also was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. That charge stems from an accusation that Sparks pulled the trigger of a gun, but the weapon misfired, Town Justice Carl W. Morgan said in court.

During a news conference after the court appearance, police declined to elaborate on the circumstances involving the gun.

"I'm not going to get into any details with the gun," Hamburg Police Chief Greg Wickett said.

Hamburg police investigate a crime scene near the Sears at the McKinley Mall in Hamburg on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

Hamburg police were called to the McKinley Mall at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said Tipps and a friend were followed to a mall parking lot by Sparks. He chased them into the Sears department store, according to police.

"There was an encounter in the parking lot that led them to flee into the store," Trask said.

In the store’s children’s department, Tipps was stabbed several times, police said. First responders arrived at the scene within five minutes of the stabbing and began trying to aid Tipps, who was unconscious, police said. They worked on her for about 15 minutes, but she died from her injuries, police said.

Investigators are still analyzing video of the attack from inside the store.

Sparks became a suspect after police interviewed witnesses and family members and also viewed several security cameras in the area of the attack. Hamburg investigators worked with the Buffalo and Niagara Falls police departments to check several addresses for Sparks.

Falls police located the vehicle used by Sparks behind an apartment on Independence Avenue, between 24th and 27th streets, where Sparks lived since the spring, Hamburg police said. Officers knocked on Sparks’ apartment door, but he didn’t initially come out. He surrendered without incident several hours later. The situation was not considered a standoff, Trask said.

Niagara Falls NY - Police Incident/Arrest - 2400 block of Independence AveSeptember 25, 2019Niagara Falls Police, in...

Posted by RobShots on Wednesday, September 25, 2019


McKinley Mall stabbing suspect called 'lady killer' at murder arraignment

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