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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Howard Welch, 18, 1526 Ferry Ave., a member of the Eighth Street Boyz was taken into custody Monday morning.

11:29 | , , ,

Howard Welch, 18, 1526 Ferry Ave., a member of the Eighth Street Boyz was taken into custody Monday morning. He was charged with first-degree assault and second-degree criminal use of a weapon.Welch had been sought after his confrontation with a member of a Bloods street gang crew about 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Pine Avenue and 30th Street turned violent and led to a wild exchange of gunfire.“There was an argument in the street and it started out as just two people,” Falls Detective Capt. William Thomson said. “And then more people got involved and it ended with Howard Welch shooting Jamar Shipp.”Shipp, 20, suffered a bullet wound to his buttocks and was treated for the nonlife threatening injury at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.Witnesses at the scene said five men were fighting when one of them ran to a green Chevrolet Suburban and began to drive away. The vehicle then stopped and a suspect got out and fired two or three shots at the group of men.Sources tell the Gazette the Pine Avenue shooting and other recent incidents of gunplay over the last few weeks, at 16th and Niagara Street and in the 1300 block of Ashland Avenue, are tied to disputes between a number of different street gangs over turf.Investigators also confirmed that Welch was a witness at the city’s most recent homicide and had spoken to police about that murder.“He came in and gave us a statement on Friday and on Saturday he was shooting,” Thomson said.Detectives do not believe the murder of Lelton Kemp, early Thursday morning outside a Monteagle Ridge Estates apartment, has any connection to the recently escalating gang violence. Kemp was shot and killed during an argument with another man that was sparked by what has been described as “sort of a domestic incident.”Falls police Superintendent John Chella said he is concerned about the spike in gang violence.“Obviously, there are a lot of guns out there and a lot of potential (for more violence),” he said. “We are working now to address that.”Chella said he is looking at a number of initiatives to attack the gang violence problem and hopes to have them in place this week. Police gang investigators and intelligence officers, along with detectives from both the Criminal Investigation Division and Narcotics Division are working together on the effort.

“I can say it will mean putting more officers on the streets,” Chella said.

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