Police, Residents Address Violence in Cheektowaga

June 14, 2011 Updated Jun 14, 2011 at 11:21 PM EDT

By Allen Leight

June 14, 2011 Updated Jun 14, 2011 at 11:21 PM EDT

CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (WKBW) - "What I'm asking for from the community," said new Cheektowaga Police Chief David Zack, "is to give us a shot at it."

Zack is referring to keeping Cheektowaga Town Park safe from violence.

In response, a resident in the audience shouted, "so they can shoot someone else?"

There is much dissension over what should be done in response to the deadly shooting of 19-year-old Ira Watkins, who was caught in the crossfire Memorial Day weekend while taking part in a water balloon fight inside Town Park.

Police say the shooting was gang related, but that Watkins was just an innocent victim, caught in the crossfire.

Some are calling for the town to close down the basketball courts, however police, and many residents say they are not the problem.

"This has nothing to do with basketball, this had nothing to do with the kids on the court," said Zack. "Ira Watkins just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when the wrong people showed up."

Police have pledged to put up more surveillance cameras within the park, at no cost to taxpayers. They also say there will be an office in the park at all times during operating hours. Patrols will also be targeted to the surrounding neighborhoods where most incidents are reported, while also looking to secure license plate scanners for each entrance to the park.

As for the investigation, police say they have gathered valuable information for surveillance footage, and that they are making progress.