Police identified a 22-year-old Buffalo man Monday as the latest victim of a recent string of unsolved shootings.
Investigators believe at least some of the unsolved shootings – including nine homicides dating back to Oct. 1 – may be linked.
“Police are looking into the possibility that some of these crimes are related,” city spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge told The Buffalo News on Monday night. “Whether it’s one or two cases, or more, I can’t say. But most of these incidents appear to be drug-related, and the victims appear to have been targeted.”
There is no indication that someone is randomly shooting people in the city, DeGeorge said.
The latest victim was identified late Monday as Samuel L. Smalls, 22, who lived in the city’s Bailey-Kensington neighborhood. Police said Smalls was killed Sunday night in the vicinity of Shirley Avenue and Suffolk Street.
Smalls had been with two other men when a third man approached them at about 9 p.m. and began firing, hitting Smalls. He was driven to Erie County Medical Center, where he died shortly after arrival, police said.
The killer was described by police only as a black male, about 5-foot-8, who wore a black hooded sweatshirt during the crime.
Smalls was slain one day after police found Brandon Cahee, 28, of Eggertsville, shot dead in an apartment on Ericson Avenue on the city’s East Side. Officers found Cahee’s car idling in a driveway outside the building where he was shot.
While not revealing much detail about the Cahee or Smalls slayings, or the other recent shootings, Detective Chief Dennis J. Richards said police are concerned about the recent incidents and are working hard to determine if there is a link between the crimes.
“Obviously, there is an increase in violence, and we’re looking for possible connections,” Richards said. “Retaliation is always a possible motive. Sometimes you have violence that stems from someone being wronged, or perceived to be wronged.”
According to police, the following homicides, dating back to Oct. 1, also remain unsolved:
• Oct. 1 – Perry Turner, 35, found fatally shot in 600 block of Riley Street.
• Oct. 5 – Rashad Patton, 30, shot repeatedly in the upper body in a drive-by in the 400 block of Cambridge Avenue.
• Oct. 28 – Dartrell Terrell, 26, shot on Stockbridge Avenue near Bailey Avenue.
• Nov. 30 – Carl Robinson, 42, shot as he drove his car on Oakmont Avenue. His passenger, a 32-year-old man, was wounded but was released after hospital treatment.
• Nov. 30 – Sylvester Buttrom, 18, shot on Lonsdale Road at about around 2:15 a.m. A man who was with him was critically wounded.
• Dec. 1 – Michael Flores, 32, found fatally shot in the yard of a vacant house on Sanford Street. A relative had reported him missing earlier in the day.
• Dec. 2 – Tavonne Taylor, 29, shot outside a residence on Niagara Street near Hertel Avenue.
Several of the shootings took place in neighborhoods where there has been gang activity, but police declined to comment when asked about the possibility of gangster involvement in the slayings.
Richards asked that anyone with information about any of these crimes call or text the city police confidential Tip Line at 847-2255.