CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (WKBW) A candlelight vigil for 19 year old Ira Watkins was held Friday at 6pm at the Cheektowaga Town Park. Organizers placed a dove where his body collapsed after being shot and killed Tuesday night.
For Watkin's loved ones, going back to the scene of his murder was difficult. One of Ira's long time friends, John Sciria is still in shock after the crime.
"Usually the people that have passed away in my life have been older and have experienced some sort of illness with it, and this has just hit me on a whole new level," shared Sciria.
Police acknowledge the shooting was gang related but are making it clear that Ira was not a member, but was caught in the cross fire, an innocent bystander attending an impromptu water gun fight at the park organized on Facebook.
It is a race against time for Cheektowaga Police to catch Ira's killer. Sources tell Eyewitness News a beef between two rival gangs, the Guilford Street Boys and the Humason Avenue Gang, sparked the shooting.
Investigators are now turning to Buffalo community leaders for help by inviting members of the clergy, legislature, and community activists to a meeting at the Cheektowaga Town Court Friday afternoon. The group was shown surveillance video of the scene before and after the shooting. Investigators hope the group can help identify some of the 100 potential witnesses at the park the night of the shooting.
Funeral services for Ira Watkins will take place Friday, June 10th at New Mount Araarat Temple of Prayer, 971 Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14204-1010. The wake will be held at 10am and the funeral follows at 11am.