CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) — A former Clarence High School student will remain in the Erie County Holding Center until July after charges against him were upgraded late last month.
Representatives from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office said the March 31 incident in which a 21-year-old man was shot in the leg was a robbery gone bad. But it’s become far worse for the main suspect in this case, Zachery Aroix.
Aroix was initially charged with attempted robbery, assault, reckless endangerment, after the sheriff’s office said on March 31 he and two other teens lured the victim to a construction site off Gentwood Drive in Clarence and attempted to rob him. As soon as the man got out of his car that night, Aroix fired his gun, one of two on site that night, said Erie County Capt. Gregory Savage.
The victim immediately fled, and one of the three suspects fired in his direction, striking his car, Savage said.
“In the course of the attempted robbery, he was shot,” Savage said. “He was shot in the leg. It was a non-life threatening wound. He retreated, got in his vehicle and got out of there.”
Aroix posted bail after his arraignment on those charges.
“This wasn’t just some random incident, like somebody out there just looking for a victim,” Savage said. “This was something that was prearranged between these individuals.”
But within 12 hours, Savage said Aroix arranged to buy a 12-guage shotgun. When deputies found out, they served a search warrant at his Clarence home. The gun was found in Aroix’s bedroom, Savage said.
That and other evidence led an Erie County grand jury to indict Aroix on the attempted murder charge.
“There had also been some statements that he made to other students about not going to school, which really heightened our awareness of the bigger picture here,” Savage said. “I think the facts of what happened were pretty straight forward of what he had done.”
In addition to Aroix, two other teens are facing charges. Ronald Andres of Williamsville and Marc Okon, both 17, are charged with reckless endangerment, attempted robbery and assault.
“They’re all from the same area,” Savage said. “They’re all from the Clarence, Williamsville, Lancaster area.”
He added the victim and the teens are “not necessarily friends, but they know who each other is.”
Savage said the difference between the initial assault charge and attempted murder is intent.
“I think the aggravating factor in this is that after this occurred, he went out and he arranged for the purchase of another firearm, of the shotgun,” Savage said. “And I think that really was of concern, of his intent that we don’t even know about.”
Savage said although the victim wasn’t fully cooperative at first, he eventually told the truth. He also said the man feared for his life.
“He was very scared,” Savage said. “When he fled, he was getting out of there. He wasn’t going to stand and fight, he was going to try and flee, and when the other shot was fired, it hit the car. So he was very scared.”