Buffalo-area law enforcement join forces to begin shoot reviews

Jul 24, 2020

Local law enforcement is linking up to to stop Buffalo's surge of gun crime, which has killed 10 people in June and July.

This isn't just the usual Buffalo Police Department or Sheriff's Department or FBI task force. This is a new technique called a shoot review, originally developed in Milwaukee.

It puts representatives of every agency involved with criminal justice in the same room to discuss specific crimes, backed by reports from crime analysts to push investigations over the line from street investigations to grand jury indictments. In Milwaukee, the process helped clear a much larger percentage of shootings and murders.

Washington is throwing $229,000 into the effort. During a news conference Thursday, FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Belongia said solving these crimes helps good people who are victims of crime.

"To solve problems at a corner store or at the community park, the impacts are devastating and long-lasting. And the statistics that you've heard today, they don't do justice to the trauma that is caused to the shooting victims, to their families and to the communities. Because behind every statistic, there's a son, there's a father, there's a mother, there's a daughter and, too often, there's an innocent young child," Belongia said.

U.S. Attorney James Kennedy took a hard line on gun criminals and street opposition to police.

"Make no mistake, less proactive policing leads to more shootings. If we truly care about the welfare of our entire community and people, often of color, who live in these economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, then we should not be calling for less active policing in those communities. We need more active policing," Kennedy said.

Kennedy also announced a federal grand jury had indicted two alleged gang members, shot about the same time as Shariff Jackson was shot to death. The U.S. attorney said Michael Woods and Antwaine Parker were indicted on weapons charges, growing out of prior felony convictions.

He said the death shooting is part of a gang war between Buffalo's Central Park and Fruit Belt gangs. Both Woods and Parker were shot hours after Jackson.

Kennedy attributed some of this summer's murders to a violent war between the Fruit Belt and Central Park Gangs. He said a federal grand jury Thursday indicted two convicted felons, Michael Woods and Antwaine Parker, who were shot and wounded early this month, the same day a leader of the other gang, Shariff Jackson, was murdered.