Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 5, 2014

Highland Avenue shooter charged by police


Niagara Gazette — The Tahoe was recovered a short time later in the parking lot of the Monteagle Ridge Estates apartments.

The potential shooting victim has not be identified. Investigators have not said whether he was wounded in the shooting.

Two days before the Highland Avenue incident, a witness on Willow Avenue, told police he heard two gunshots outside his house, at 6:38 p.m., and looked out the window. The witness said he saw a tan SUV, with a silver SUV parked in front of it, in the 1500 block of his street. 

A suspect was standing outside the tan SUV and he ran to the silver SUV before both vehicles sped away. That suspect is believed to be Sylvester.

Sylvester is no stranger to police, with a significant criminal record. Street sources identify him as a large volume marijuana dealer.

He was arrested in May 2013 after Falls narcotics detectives found him with a large amount of pot, some pills and a significant stash of counterfeit cash.

Investigators stopped a Hummer that they said ran the stop sign in front of them. Inside the vehicle was Sylvester and two Buffalo men with street gang connections.

Detectives also found more than 7 pounds of pot inside the hummer and a search of Sylvester then turned up 27 Opana pills and $1,200 in counterfeit bills.

But the drug charges in that case were dismissed by Niagara County Court Judge Matthew J. Murphy III, who ruled that police stopped the SUV with Sylvester because of “racial profiling.”

Murphy called the traffic stop of Sylvester, and the two other men, a case of “driving while black.”

“No court is ever pleased that guilty men go free because the constable has blundered,” Murphy said in his ruling. “Even the guiltiest of men are entitled to the protection of the laws.”

Niagara County District Attorney Michael Violante has appealed that ruling to the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester.

The appeal involves only Sylvester and Shateek Payne, 36, 986 Fillmore Ave., Buffalo. Payne’s brother Michael, 29, who was also in the Hummer, was gunned down in a gang-related shooting in Buffalo, a few weeks after the Falls traffic stop.

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