Buffalo Police offer rewards for five unsolved shootings this summer

Posted at 5:42 PM, Sep 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-03 14:11:10-04

Buffalo Police are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in five unsolved shootings in the city.  Three of the victims have died.  The other two are children who are still in the hospital.

Those two children are 8-year-old Donnell Bibbes and 11-year-old Juan Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was shot in the head on his family's front porch on Humason Avenue at the end of June.  He was trying to bring his siblings inside after hearing gunshots.

Bibbes was sitting in the backseat of a car on South Division Street when an unknown person fired shots into the car on August 25th.  He was also struck in the head.

The other victims are Shakila Cottrell, who was shot and killed on Shumway Street on August 20th; Christina Banks, who was fatally shot on Vermont Street on July 25th; and Dalen Smith, who was shot dead on the corner of Fillmore Avenue and French Street on June 3rd.

Buffalo Police say these five victims were not the intended targets.

Buffalo Police are following leads in each of the five cases, but say they don't have enough information to prosecute. They're calling for witnesses or people with information on the crimes to come forward.

According to reports from Buffalo Police, there have been 19 murders in the city since June 1st.  Only one has been solved.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda says it's difficult to solve crimes when people aren't willing to help. Sometimes, that can even be the victim.

"We are working hard on these cases but without cooperation from the public we can't do our job," he said.  "Some of these cases, we're looking at five truly innocent victims.  But in a lot of cases, we'll get somebody who is a shooting victim who will tell us point blank 'I wouldn't tell you if I knew' and that's the way it is.  If they're the only witness the case is not going to be solved."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Derenda hope these new rewards will encourage people with information to provide it to police.

"We have an excellent police department," Brown said.  "But they need to have information to be able to solve crimes."

"You will not see justice until people come forward with information," Derenda said.  "We cannot be everywhere 24/7.  Sometimes there is only one or two [witnesses] there.  Sometimes there is 20 who are saying absolutely nothing."

The $2,500 rewards are offered for information leading to arrests and convictions in the five crimes.  Anybody with information is asked to call or text the Buffalo Police Confidential Tipcall Line at (716) 847-2255.