Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 26, 2014

Victim IDs shooter

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT -- As police raced to his South End home, John Petty begged a fire department dispatcher to "hurry up" and told her who had shot him.

Niagara County prosecutors wasted no time Tuesday in playing a recording of Petty's May 26 call to 911 as they began the attempted murder trial of Petty's accused shooter, Cordarise Houston.

Houston, 23, 666 70th St., is charged with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the shooting of Petty, 24, who was described as a close friend. 

First Assistant Niagara County District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann told a county court jury of eight men and four women, who are hearing the case, that Petty was critically wounded in a hail of gunfire that ripped through the living room of his Cudaback Avenue home in the early morning hours.

"(Petty) was there (in his home), alone, when a man came in and fired seven (shots) at him and left him to die," Hofmann said in her opening statement of the trial. "That man was Cordarise Houston."

Hoffmann told jurors that, as Petty lay on his living room floor in a pool of blood, he was able to get out his cell phone and call police. The jury listened intently as Hoffmann played a recording of that call.

"I'm shot. Hurry up. Hurry up. I'm dying," Petty told Falls Fire Department Dispatcher Drew Lazarou, who answered his call. 

Lazarou, who took the stand to testify, said she immediately sent fire and ambulance crews to the shooting scene and asked police dispatchers to send officers as well. The dispatcher said Petty sounded "very upset" and "in pain," but she stayed on the line with him and continued to ask questions.

"Who shot you?" Lazarou asked.

"Cordarise Houston," Petty replied. 

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