BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo say several recent shootings in the Queen City are tied to gang violence.
Federal authorities say members of the Fruit Belt Gang were involved with the deadly shooting of Central Park Gang member Shariff Jackson near Canisius High School on July 1st.
Additionally two Fruit Belt Gang members 27-year-old Antwaine Parker, and 31-year-old Michael Woods, both from Buffalo, were each charged by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to investigators, Parker and Woods were shot on July 4th, with Woods driving to the hospital.
Officers at the scene allegedly recovered a hand gun thrown out the car window at a nearby building.
Woods allegedly told officers he was driving with an unnamed person at the time of the shooting, and didn't provide any additional details.
Investigators believe the shooting could be the result of rival gang activity between the Central Park Gang and the Fruit Belt Gang.
On July 9th, both Woods and Parker were believed to have posted pictures on their social media accounts with guns, and Parker also appeared to have marijuana on him in the photos.
On July 14th, investigators had both Woods and Parker under surveillance due to the funeral of Shariff Jackson.
Officers found Woods and Parker meeting with each other and then arrested Woods after finding two loaded hand guns in his car.
Police also stopped Parker who had a suspended license and invalid license plates and then arrested him and impounded his car.
“In view of the recent increase in violence and shootings in our community, this prosecution highlights a number of things of which the public needs to be aware,” stated U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy. “There is a cycle of criminality and violence which connects many of the shootings we are seeing in our City. These defendants both have prior weapons convictions, both were themselves shooting victims, and both chose to arm themselves despite being prohibited from legally doing so. Left to their own devices, this is, sadly, the type of ‘justice’ to which those involved in these sorts of activities—many of whom are members of street gangs—aspire. The result is anything but ‘just,’ as it leads inexorably to an ever-escalating and expanding sphere of violence and lawlessness. Yet, the tremendous investigation giving rise to this criminal complaint also demonstrates how professional and proactive law enforcement can effectively disrupt that cycle of violence, save lives, restore law and order, and achieve some measure of ‘justice,’ which is cognizable to the community as a whole. Hats off to the BPD, the FBI, and the ECAC for their outstanding work in this investigation.”