Life Amongst Drug Deals, Raids

June 6, 2013 Updated Jun 6, 2013 at 6:50 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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June 6, 2013 Updated Jun 6, 2013 at 6:50 PM EDT


Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - A police raid at a Buffalo apartment this week has people who live in that neighborhood talking.

An army veteran says police wrongly raided his apartment, and in the process, his dog was shot and killed.

Neighbors say these raids are all too common.

Living on Breckenridge Street in Buffalo, 14-year-old Ariana Ortiz knows that she has seen more than many women have seen in a lifetime.

"This boy in my school -- I go to Lafayette High School -- he just walked to the bus stop and got shot. That could happen to us one of these days," Ortiz says, referring to 15-year-old Jawaan Daniels, who was gunned down in 2010.

On Ariana's street -- frequent drug deals, and drug raids at least once a month.

Ariana saw a raid for the first time at just 10-years-old. Then at 13, police targeted her house, looking for drugs in connection with a family member.

"They busted my door," Ariana says, "and I ended up leaving off the porch. I didn't want to be in there. It was scary."

"I don't like laying down. I'll have to worry about if they're coming into the house," she continues.

The oldest of six, Ariana worries most about how her siblings will grow up.

"I keep trying to move and get my mom to go to a good neighborhood, instead of staying here and being bad," Ariana says.

Across the street, Bethany Ortquist worries about the most -- the little ones.

"There was a shooting just a couple houses down. I know the girl who got shot," says Bethany. She says the shooting was an accident, but that it's still scary.

"The cops are worried they don't know what the other people are going to do, the people in the house are worried they don't know what the cops are going to do," Ortquist says. Everybody is on the defensive. You don't know when somebody is just going to make a first move and everything escalates."

An aspiring crime scene investigator, Ariana says she understands the reason behind the raids -- but that does not make them any easier.

These neighbors say they find comfort in each other. Often at times, they make sure to stay to themselves. However, in a way, they feel like a family.

Eyewitness News talked to Ariana with her mother's permission.