Niagara Gazette

January 15, 2014

Suspect sought in Pine shooting

By Rick Pfeiffer and Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Falls police detectives are trying to figure out what triggered a brazen daylight shooting in the Pine Avenue business district Tuesday afternoon.

The gunfire erupted around 3 p.m. in the 2900 block of Pine Avenue and the hail of bullets shattered the glass entrance door to L.O.E.G., a store that appears to sell apparel and other items. 

“When we arrived, we found the glass door in the front was shot up and there were no employees in the building,” Falls Police Detective Lt. Mike Trane said. 

At almost the same time, the store’s owner arrived on the scene.

“(The owner) said he had received a call from his brother, telling him to come to the store right away,” Trane said. “But he didn’t know what had happened.”

What the owner, who has not been identified, found was police on guard outside his business, which was surrounded by yellow crime scene tape. Crime Scene Unit officers were busy gathering evidence.

 “The owner said he hasn’t had any problems with anyone recently or any issues with anyone,” Trane said. 

Witnesses reported seeing a single male suspect fire three or four shots into the door from what police believe was a small-caliber handgun. Trane said it did not appear that anyone was injured in the shooting.

“We haven’t been able to find anyone who was in the store (at the time of the shooting),” Trane said. “We don’t believe anyone was shot, but the door was shot out.”

The mid-afternoon shooting drew a crowd of onlookers, but most told a Gazette reporter they had just happened upon the scene and didn’t know what had occurred. Others declined to comment on whether they had seen anything.

Hussein Mansour, the owner of Mansour’s Market and Gas across the street from the shooting scene, said he was outside when the gunfire started.

“The window went down and then I just saw a black car with tinted windows speed off,” Mansour said.

Mansour said at first, he thought the loud pops were part of some sort of prank.,

“There was somebody fighting with somebody across the street,” he said. “But I can’t see who’s across the street.”

Mansour, who is originally from Egypt and moved to the Falls from New Paltz, N.Y. two years ago, just opened his gas station and convenience store two weeks ago. The shooting has left him shaken. 

“I don’t know what to say about this because it’s terrible,” Mansour said. “I’m in America for 19 years and I’ve never seen that. (My) kids are always here and playing outside.” 

Trane said investigators are looking for help from the public to identify a suspect. He also said detectives are still looking for the store owner’s brother.

“We’re still trying to speak with him,” he said.