A murder took the life of a 14-year-old boy who had already dedicated his life, at that young age, to helping stop violence in his own neighborhood. Saturday, his family celebrated what would have been his 16th birthday in an unlikely place.
Christian Portes' family and friends were suppose to celebrate his sweet sixteen at home his mother, Ruth Burgos, tells Eyewitness in Spanish as her daughter translates. Burgos goes on to say that they are now having the party at the cemetery.
Portes was gunned down in June of last year while riding his bike near Maryland street and Whitney Place on Buffalo's westside.
"He was my only son," said a tearful Burgos.
That area was overrun by the notorious Tenth Street Gang. But their years of street crimes may be coming to an end.
"They will no longer be allowed to terrorize the residents of this city," said Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda.
Just over a week ago a federal grand jury charged 27-members and associates of the gang with a laundry list of crimes, including Christian Portes' murder.
"These arrests should server as notice to other gang leaders and members that you are next on our list," promised Derenda.
But that is little solace to Roxy Portes, Christian's sister, "They arrested somebody but it's not bringing him back you know, he's still gone."
Christian was part of an anti-violence rap group with his sister and cousin.
Roxy Portes points out her younger brother on the cover of the CD,"He's the one in the middle," she says.
They recorded the CD named 'Murder, Tears and Bloody cement." However, they never imagined they'd soon become victims of the very thing they were trying to prevent.
"We used to rap for the street to stop the violence. Backfired I guess," said Roxy.
The Tenth Street Gang arrests were part of a year long investigation by the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force.