Second Falls murder victim identified

Niagara Falls police are continuing to investigate a fatal shooting that occurred at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ferry Avenue and 12th Street. On Wednesday, police identified the victim as 29-year-old Nathan Craft of the Falls. Craft was found, around 5:35 p.m., lying in a pool of blood between his car and the curb on Ferry Avenue.

Falls Police detectives said late Monday afternoon that they had made an arrest in connection with a July 21 murder on Ferry Avenue.

Investigators, assisted by members of the U.S. Marshals Felony Fugitive Task Force, took Geoffrey O. Sandiford, 18, of Cleveland Avenue, into custody, without incident, in Avoca, N.Y., a town in the northwest corner of Steuben County. The arrest took place on Monday and Sandiford was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Niagara Falls City Court later today.

Sandiford is accused of gunning down Nathan Craft in the second of two homicides that hit the city in a 16-hour period on July 12.

The first of the homicides occurred in the early morning hours that day in the area of 17th Street and Pierce Avenue, while Craft's slaying happened during rush hour on Ferry Avenue near 12th Street.

Craft, 29, of the Falls was found, around 5:35 p.m., lying in a pool of blood between his car and the curb on Ferry Avenue.

Criminal Investigation Division detectives said, at the time, that Craft had apparently been involved in a fight before he was shot “several times.” He was declared dead at the scene by paramedics.

Criminal Investigation Division Detective Capt. Michael Trane had no comment on the connection between Craft and Sandiford

Investigators had begun their day on July 21 sorting through the chaos of a shootout that erupted in the backyard of a home in the 1700 block of Whitney Avenue.

That hail of bullets left one man dead and another injured.

The deceased victim was identified as Jonathan Joseph, 22, with home addresses in both Niagara Falls and Florida. The second victim remains unidentified by law enforcement.

Trane has described that investigation as “very active.”

Detectives said the shooting occurred about 1:30 a.m. and when patrol officers arrived at the scene, they found Joseph and the second man both suffering from gunshot wounds.

“The victims had been in a backyard with one other person when they were shot,” Trane said. “People then tried to help the victims.”

Investigators said Joseph, who had been shot several times in his torso, was taken in a private vehicle to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. He was pronounced dead from his wounds at the medical center.

The second victim was rushed by ambulance to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo. Detectives said he suffered injuries to his lower body that were not believed to be life-threatening.

Detectives said that the third person who was in the backyard in the 1700 block of Whitney Avenue is a possible suspect in the shootings.

“We believe the victims are closely related, and there’s no reason to believe they shot each other,” Trane said.

Investigators said they are continuing to interview friends and family members of the victims and are hoping the surviving victim can help lead them to a suspect.

“We’re looking for help,” Trane said.

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