BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The investigation into the shooting death of a Buffalo teenager and the wounding of three others is moving along quickly, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda.
Tuesday afternoon, 14-year-old Raymond Patterson III lost his life after being shot on a footbridge over the Kensington Expressway, near the Kenfield Langfield housing projects.
“It started with two teenage girls fighting,” said Derenda, “and we believe the suspect pulled out a gun and fired randomly into the crowd.”
The incident is believed to have started earlier at nearby Roosevelt Park. One account says there had been an altercation between two teenage boys. The girls somehow became involved, and the crowd moved to the bridge where the shootings took place.
One resident told News 4 she had heard that Patterson’s last words were “Why me? I didn’t do anything.”
Wednesday afternoon Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown joined Commissioner Derenda and citizen activists in efforts to urge people to come forward with information. A reward of up to $1,000 is now being offered for information leading to the arrest of the suspect by Crimestoppers.
“We intend to walk this pavement until the character that would dare do this is brought to justice,” said Rev. James Giles, of the Buffalo Peacemakers group. He and others spent the day consoling the victims’ families.
Mayor Brown said people were known to have witnessed the shootings.
“We know that there are people in the community who know exactly who that shooter is,” he said. “We’re asking for more people to come forward to get that shooter off the streets.”
None of the victims families or their neighbors wanted to be interviewed by reporters Wednesday.
“They’re in fear of coming outside,” said Murray Holman of the Stop the Violence Coalition.
“There’s a guy running around here that doesn’t care about families,” he said. “He has a weapon. He might use it again.”
The projects are still buttoned up tight. The Martha Mitchell Community Center say nearly empty.
Ykeeta Wilson said, “Normally, we service like 200 children in the community, as far as for breakfast and lunch. And the turnout that we had today was very poor. I would say, if we had 50 kids today, we did well.”
Wednesday, the Peacemakers, Mayor Brown, and Buffalo Police did what they call a W.A.V.E. – “Working Against Violent Events.”
“To reassure the community that they’re not alone, that people care about what occurred, that we are committed to finding the individual that committed this terrible crime,” Mayor Brown said.
Wilson added, “We’re asking that everyone that can and will, to come out and just speak up. Because anytime we lose a life, especially at that age, it’s a senseless death.”
Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant was also out talking with residents.
“I’m hearing that the killer is known in the community,” she said. “So there may be some apprehension, [but] a child killer must not be protected.”
Derenda says detectives “are zeroing in a suspect.”
“We are making significant progress, but again, we need more tips. We need more people to come forward. We’re asking if anybody has cell phone video, contact our homicide unit or our tipline at 847-2255. We understand that there may be several cell phone videos out there, of the incident. And that would be very valuable to us,” Derenda said.
Anyone with information can call the Buffalo Police confidential tipline at 847-2255 or Crimestoppers at 867-6161.