A 14-year-old boy is facing a charge of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy during a weekend fight, reportedly sparked by a dispute over sneakers.
Myles D. Taylor III, 14, of Northland Avenue, was charged as an adult with shooting Kelmyne Jones Jr., 16, of Goulding Avenue, with a handgun after a large fight Saturday between two groups of young people on Northland on the East Side, police said.
The fight happened just before 4 p.m., police said, on the 200 block of Northland, which runs between Jefferson Avenue and Hager Street, six blocks from Canisius College. It ended with Kelmyne collapsed in a driveway, where police found him, officials said.
Police declined to release many details surrounding the investigation. Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda would not say exactly what type of gun was used or whether it had been used before, and he wouldn’t speculate on a motive or whether gangs were involved.
He also wouldn’t tell exactly how police connected the case to Taylor, though he thanked the public for cooperating with investigators. Taylor turned himself in with his attorney present and was charged Wednesday evening, officials said.
“This is a wake-up call for every mother, every father, every grandmother, every guardian,” said Arlee Daniels Jr., program coordinator of the Stop the Violence Coalition, a group of local organizations that works to combat Buffalo’s homicide rate. “You can no longer take for granted that your child is out doing the right thing. Every one of you should be checking on them thoroughly and relentlessly.”
Most Northland residents were tight-lipped Thursday about the fight and shooting, either saying they didn’t know anything about what happened or declining to speak to reporters.
But one neighbor who wouldn’t give his name said the incident happened near his home. He said he saw the fight and confirmed that it was at least partly over a pair of sneakers, which people had been posting on social media websites. Police would not confirm that it was over sneakers, however.
“It’s sad,” said the neighbor, who knew people on both sides of the fight and said Taylor lived down the street from him on Northland. “But it seems like it’s an everyday thing.”
The neighbor said that Kelmyne, who lived five blocks south of Northland on Goulding Avenue, had marched onto Northland with some friends to confront a group of youths who had earlier threatened to steal his sneakers. That’s when the fight began.
Earlier this week, Northland residents said that there were about 11 boys involved. They added that the boy who shot Kelmyne had retrieved the gun from underneath a bush as Kelmyne had another boy in a headlock. The two groups had been in a territorial rivalry that had escalated previously, residents had said.
Lake Kearney, a retired Erie County sheriff’s deputy, has lived in Buffalo since 1952 and on Northland since 1981. He said he’d heard the teens fighting Saturday – “cussin’, fussin’, swearin’ ” – while he was in his house. When he later heard sirens, he said Thursday, “That’s when I knew something was going on.”
Kearney said the street used to be peaceful and quiet, mostly retirees, but that has changed.
When asked how a 14-year-old would get a gun, Kearney said it’s a simple task.
“Getting a hold of a gun in Buffalo is almost as easy as going to the corner store and buying a Popsicle,” Kearney said.
Derenda appeared on the steps of City Hall to announce the arrest with Mayor Byron W. Brown, who said his thoughts were with Kelmyne’s family.
“This is a tragedy that not only destroys and hurts a family, but it is a tragedy that hurts the entire community,” Brown said.
News Staff Reporter Debbie Truong contributed to this report.