A Cheektowaga teenager and a Town of Tonawanda man are locked up on charges that they retaliated against a witness in a Buffalo murder case by shooting at him, although they instead wounded an innocent bystander.
Kentie Crump, 17, of Young Street, Cheektowaga, and Eric Smith, 22, of Englewood Ave., Tonawanda, were arraigned on assault and weapons charges Wednesday before State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia.
Crump and Smith argued with a 23-year-old man over the man's cooperation with Buffalo homicide detectives, who were investigating the stabbing and burning of 16-year-old Darren Brown in North Buffalo in July, said Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.
The district attorney said the two retaliated against the man Aug. 5, when Smith handed Crump a loaded revolver, and Crump fired at the witness on St. Lawrence Avenue.
The bullet grazed the witness in the hand and then struck a 22-year-old St. Lawrence Avenue woman in the leg, causing a serious injury, according to the indictment.
Crump turned himself in to police Aug. 22, and Smith surrendered Sept. 7. Both are being held in the Erie County Holding Center on $300,000 bail. Their next court hearing is Oct. 19.
Sedita said the two would be aggressively prosecuted. "It's an affront to the entire criminal-justice system," Sedita said of witness intimidation. "It is rare, but it does happen. We won't tolerate it."
After Brown was stabbed to death, his killers left his body in a wooded area behind a custard stand on Colvin Avenue.
Demetrius Huff, 17, of Jewett Parkway, and Ezeiekile Nafi, 16, of East Amherst Street, have been charged with second-degree murder, with police alleging they took turns stabbing Darren more than 10 times, killing him. They later returned with gasoline to burn the body in an apparent attempt to destroy evidence that might lead back to them, police have said.