Niagara Gazette

September 7, 2013

Lockport police investigating shooting

BY BILL WOLCOTT
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — A man was shot early Saturday morning following a skirmish at a downtown bar.

Police aren't releasing the identity of the victim who was shot in the shoulder and transported to ECMC with what officials are calling "non-life-threatening injuries."

Lockport Police Det. Capt. Richard L. Podgers said the scene at the Niagara Hotel was chaotic upon LPD arrival and the chaos means it may take police a bit longer to get all the details straight.

As such, he said, they're not releasing many details.

"It's still an active investigation. We anticipate a successful conclusion," he said. "There's some people we want to talk to. We'll weed out the truth."

Police Chief Lawrence Eggert stated that bullet casings were found outside the bar, and a man — who is not a suspect — was charged with disorderly conduct.

A Niagara Hotel employee who wished to remain unidentified said a large group of men entered the bar together Friday night.

"I suspect they were looking for one person in particular," the bar staffer said. "All at once, they attacked one guy. At the very same time, two or three other fights strategically started throughout the bar."

Bar employees were able to protect the main person being attacked.

The men involved the the altercation were ushered outside by bouncers, at which point Niagara Hotel owner Pieter Esch says he went to the door and heard a gunshot outside.

A press release from the police department said that upon their arrival at the bar, "there were a large number of patrons exiting the bar and advising that a man had been shot."

"There was an argument or a fight or something inside the bar," Podgers said.

"There were multiple shots fired. There likely may have been more than one gun. People fled. There was a large crowd when the police got there," he said.

The bar staffer said "There were two guns. The first gun fired, they had blanks. And then someone got out another gun and that had real bullets."

Asked how they knew the one gun had blanks in it, the bar staffer said the gun with the blanks was fired at one of the bouncers, who was not injured.

The LPD press release says that "no further information regarding the victim will be released at this time."

"The victim ... was very lucky," Podgers said.

Following the incident, Nathaniel Carson, 23, 221 Green St. Apt. 2, was charged with disorderly conduct at 2:56 a.m. Police do not know if Carson had a connection to either the suspect or the victim.

"There was a lack of cooperation from the people at the scene," Eggert said. An arrest was made of someone acting out in the crowd. "We arrested him to calm the situation down," Eggert said.

Police have not reported other arrests regarding the shooting.

Several detectives are working on the case, according to Lockport police. Eggert acknowledged the parties involved may be from out of town. Historically, when something like this happens the suspects are from Buffalo, Niagara Falls or Rochester, the chief said.

"The Niagara Hotel is extremely happy with the speed at which the police responded and the seriousness with which they're taking this," the Niagara Hotel staffer said.

The bar was closed following the incident so police could investigate, but it reopened Saturday morning.