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NIAGARA FALLS – The increase in gun violence continues in Niagara Falls with two unrelated shootings Monday night and early Tuesday.

In the more serious case, Markeys D. Jones, 17, of Fifth Street was shot in the chest following a fight at basketball courts in the 2800 block of Eagle Heights just before 7:30 p.m. Monday. He was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and transferred to Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo, where he is in serious condition, but believed to be improving, according to Detective Capt. William M. Thomson.

The victim’s 15-year-old brother told police that he was involved in a fist fight with another male when his brother jumped in to help. The other male then pulled out a gun and shot Jones, according to the brother.

A group of teens took Markeys to the hospital, then left, said police, who are still looking for the gunman.

“We know a lot of people over there that saw what happened and if there are people willing to step forward we would be interested in speaking with them,” said Thomson.

The other shooting occurred early Tuesday in the 1700 block of Rhode Island Avenue.

Thomas Pryor, 21, of 18th Street, said he was being dropped off by a friend and when he got out of the vehicle, a man who was in the same vehicle fired a shot at him.

Police said Pryor suffered a gunshot wound in his right thigh but the injury did not appear to be life-threatening. Police found a .25-caliber automatic shell casing in the roadway.

A witness told police he heard two people arguing and then heard the gunshot.

Pryor, police said, was uncooperative and provided no information on the shooter or the friend who dropped him off, other than to say he was driving a black SUV.

Pryor, known to police in other incidents, was also shot in the leg in May. The suspect, Rayquan M. Graham, 20, allegedly shot Pryor, his brother and mother. They were all treated and released. Police said that shooting was triggered by an ongoing dispute between Graham and the brothers.

Meanwhile, Niagara Falls Police Superintendent E. Bryan DalPorto launched a saturation patrol on Friday to combat the increasing gun violence.

The grant-funded patrol, designed to seek out the root cause for the spike in gun violence, involves city, state and parks police, as well as Border Patrol and Niagara County sheriff’s deputies.

Saturation patrols are expected to be held on future dates throughout the summer.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com