Niagara Gazette

May 16, 2013

Business dispute may have triggered Falls shooting

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — A Falls man, accused of trying to gun down a business rival, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and almost a dozen weapons and related charges.

Timothy Depetris entered his pleas during a hearing before Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas on Thursday morning. He is charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree criminal use of a firearm, three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, six counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree criminal trespass.

Farkas ordered Depetris jailed without bail and scheduled a June 4 hearing for him to hire a lawyer.

Depretris is accused of trying to to gun down a man in the doorway of his business in the 2300 block of Hyde Park Boulevard early in the morning of March 26. The 56-year-old victim told investigators two men came to the door at 1:30 a.m. and confronted him. 

One of the suspects, the victim said, then shot him in the upper chest, near his shoulder.

At the time, investigators said the shooting was clearly "an attempted murder."

"(The suspects) were there for that guy," Detective Lt. Mike Trane said at the time. "They were coming for him."

Police now believe there was only one man at the door.

Police said the victim was able to call for help on his own. He was taken to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo where he was treated and later released.

Investigators said Depetris emerged as a suspect almost immediately after the shooting.

"We kind of thought it might be him, he was on our radar early on," Trane said on Thursday after the arraignment. "He and the victim were acquainted, they were in the same business."

Trane said the victim indicated that he and Depetris had a business disagreement and that Depetris had been "upset" with him.

Depetris was stopped a day after the shooting by Detective Patrick Stack and was found to be in possession of what one cop called an "arsenal" in his car.

Investigators said Depetris had a loaded semi-automatic 9 mm Baretta handgun in a holster around his neck and under his shirt at the time he was stopped. Police also recovered a fully automatic rifle and multiple, loaded ammunition clips in the back seat of the car.