Parents present as teen murder suspect is questioned by police

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – With an arrest in the death of Ameer Al Shammari, classmates of the seventh grader and those of his accused killer are both struggling to cope with this shocking news.

Students are being offered counseling.

In a one-on-one conversation with Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda, News 4 learned new information about what led up to the arrest of 13-year-old Jean Sanchez.

Derenda says Sanchez’s family was there, when the 13-year-old spoke to police about Ameer’s death.

The commissioner told News 4′s Ed Drantch, “around 10:30 [Monday night] or so, [Sanchez] actually showed up to police headquarters with his parents.”

“The suspect was interviewed at Buff State,” Derenda said. “They have what they call a ‘Sunshine Room’ to interview juveniles. Homicide detectives interviewed him and sometime shortly there after they placed him under arrest.”

Sanchez was arrested at 3 a.m. on Tuesday. Derenda was unsure if the teenager had a lawyer present, but reiterated “his parents were present.”

As for Sanchez confessing to any crime, during a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Derenda said, “The suspect did make admissions to homicide detectives. As has been reported, we believe the murder was over a cell phone.”

Derenda would not comment on whether the cell phone has been recovered. He wouldn’t comment on how Ameer was killed.

However, News 4 has learned through several sources, Ameer was strangled with a string from a hooded sweatshirt. News 4 has also learned there are indications of a possible sexual assault.

Sanchez has only been charged with second degree murder. At this point, Derenda would not say if any other charges are expected. He says the investigation continues.

Sanchez is being held in a juvenile detention center on Buffalo’s east side, without bail. He pleaded not guilty to the second degree murder charge, Tuesday. He is next due in court on Friday for a felony hearing.

Buffalo attorney, Paul Dell, has been assigned to represent Sanchez. He was put on the case through the Erie County “Assigned Council Program.” It’s for defendants who cannot afford council.

Dell would not speak with News 4 on Wednesday, since he is still reviewing the case. But he will be in court with Sanchez at the end of the week.

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