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Man found dead in Buffalo's Fruit Belt identified

Posted at 1:56 PM, Dec 30, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-24 00:00:11-05

A man found dead Sunday night in the 200 block of Peach Street in Buffalo's Fruit Belt neighborhood has been identified.

Police were called to the scene around 9:30 p.m. for the report of a body in the street. When they arrived, they found 28-year-old Denell Baker dead.

An autopsy determined Baker died of a gunshot wound. Sources say police believe Baker was shot elsewhere, even though his body was found on Peach Street.

Buffalo Police Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards was on the scene. He tells us investigations into the recent string of shootings in the city show some may be related to gang rivalry, although there is no evidence yet that this shooting is gang-related.

This marks Buffalo's eighth homicide victim due to gun violence in the past 16 days, all but two of which involved victims under the age of 25.

It all began December 12, when an 18-year-old girl was hit by gunfire on the 100 block of Riverside Avenue. She treated and released from the hospital.

The following morning at 9 a.m., 24-year-old Terrell Taylor was shot at Brinkman Avenue and Rohe Street. He later died at ECMC.

Then December 16, there were two deadly shootings and a third reported shooting with no victim. The first shooting that Tuesday occurred around 8:30 p.m. on the 200 block of Jewett Avenue and 20-year-old Darren Rice was found dead at the scene.

There was a shooting reported around 11 p.m. on Locust Street, though there was no victim in that case and police could not confirm a shooting took place.

A third shooting happened just after midnight on Genesee Street between Floss Street and Sprenger Avenue. Tracy Avery, 19, was shot and possibly hit by a vehicle and later died at ECMC.

December 19, 16-year-old Jamilah Furguan was killed and 20-year-old Antonio Tucker suffered critical injuries in a double shooting on the 500 block of Grant Street.

Early in the morning on December 21, 44-year-old Willie Barksdale was shot at William and Spring Street. He later died at ECMC.

That afternoon a 15-year-old boy was shot on the 200 block of Jewett Avenue. He is recovering from his injuries at the hospital.

Early in the morning of December 22, a 23-year-old woman was killed and a 26-year-old man was injured in a shooting on the first block of Manhattan Avenue. The man was treated and released from ECMC.

On December 23, there were two overnight shootings, one at Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street and the other on the 400 block of Rhode Island Street. In both cases, the victims were shot in the legs.

That was also the case at a shooting that night around 5 p.m. at Genesee Street and Leslie. Two people were shot in the legs.

A half hour later, three people were taken into custody at Tonawanda and Austin Streets after shots were fired in that area. A gun was recovered. There was no reported victim.

Just before 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, 24-year-old Matthew Tucker was shot and killed on the first block of Klaus Street.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda says it's likely some of the murders are connected, but he won't say how. He did say that police believe most of the victims knew their attackers.

"The most difficult thing to do when trying to solve homicide is getting witnesses to come forward and give us statements," said Derenda. "We need evidence we need people to come forward, we need to have statements to make arrests. In some cases you get lots of cooperation. In some cases you get zero."

Anyone with information on any of the shootings should call the Buffalo Police Tipline at 716-847-2255.