BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Vigils are being held across Buffalo after a violent week. There were five shootings in seven days. Three men were killed and five others were injured, including a 14 year old boy.
There have been 14 homicides in the Queen City in 2017, it’s the deadliest start to the year in the last decade.
Community leaders called for peace Tuesday as family and friends leaned on each other, holding candles. They shared memories of 39 yer old James Smith who was shot and killed March 1, on Pershing Ave.
“My husband was wonderful,” Shnikie Slaughter-Smith said. “He would do anything for anybody, he would give you the shirt off his back.”
Smith leaves behind three children.
He was known to friends as “Doughboy” and every year arranged a block party on July 4th.
“I loved him, he was loved by a lot of people in the community,” said Willie Green, a close friend. “I walked into the corner store and the guy at the corner store was crying.”
Green said he held Smith the night he died.
“I did hear a mother say ‘Oh my god somebody shot my son’ and hearing that voice made me realize I knew that voice so I ran toward it,” he said.
Green is the Vice President of Stop the Violence Coalition. He told News 4 he’s buried 17 family members in the past few years.
“I don’t wish this on anybody,” said Green.
Denise McMiller is preparing to say goodbye to her 24 year old son. He was shot and killed early Saturday morning near Mills and Peterson Streets.
“I’ve lost my son and I can never see him again or touch him,” said McMiller. “It’s crazy he even went that way.”
She is still waiting for answers about what happened that night.
“I just want whoever did this to my son to come to justice,” said McMiller.
She isn’t the only mother asking witnesses to come forward. Thirteen of the homicides this year are still under investigation.
Buffalo Police told News 4 many of shootings this week are likely gang related. They ask any witnesses to call their confidential tipline with information, 847-2255.
Officers arrested a 16 year old boy for shooting two teenagers in Buffalo on Monday night at Best St. and Michigan Ave. He faces several charges including attempted murder and assault.
The 17 year victim of that shooting has been released from the hospital. Police tell us the 14 year old victim is in fair condition at ECMC.
Community leaders want the city to create positive outlets for young men like job training and community centers.