Niagara Gazette

August 20, 2013

Investigators following 'promising leads' in Saturday's shooting

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

Falls police are working on what has been described as "promising leads" in their investigation into a shooting that targeted one of their own.

Investigators did not comment on whether they are close to finding a suspect in the case. They've been looking for the gunman, who shot at a veteran officer, since early Saturday morning.

The incident began unfolding around 3 a.m., when officers responded to 911 calls of shots being fired between a red car and green van. As officers begin a search for the vehicles, they received a call of an accident at Ninth Street and Ferry Avenue involving a green van. 

When officers arrived at the crash scene, they quickly discovered a gunshot hole on the passenger side of the van. Two passengers in the vehicle told police they had been involved in an incident with a Dodge Charger.

Minutes later, two patrol officers spotted an orange Charger in the 600 block of 15th Street. When they attempted to stop the car, the passenger jumped out and began running, with one of the patrol officers in pursuit.

“As the officer was chasing the suspect, he stopped and held up what appeared to be a rifle with both of his hands on it,” Falls Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto said. “He then fired a shot at the officer and the officer returned fire, firing one shot.”

Neither the officer nor the suspect were hit. After the gunfire, the officer lost sight of the suspect, who was described as “a black male, about 6 feet tall.”

While the passenger from the Charger was being chased, police were able to finally stop the car at 15th Street and Ferry Avenue. Officers took the driver into custody.

Rashaun M. Dix, 439 26th St., Apt. 1, was charged with unlawfully fleeing from police and several vehicle and traffic law violations.

The Niagara County Sheriffs Office K-9 Unit and the New York State Parks Police assisted in the search for the gunman. 

Investigators said neither Dix nor the occupants of the van were cooperative in explaining what triggered the exchange of gunfire between them. The explanations were described as “sketchy.”

The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative duty, pending an investigation by the department’s Office of Professional Standards. That investigation was characterized as “routine.” 

“We don’t anticipate any charges,” DalPorto said. “The force that was used by the officer appears to be entirely justified.”