Niagara Falls Police are looking for suspects in the city’s fifth homicide of 2005.

Seventeen-year-old Gerald Cannon, 1152 Pierce Ave., was found shot in the head shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday inside a home at 1120 Linwood Ave.

Police are developing leads, and have interviewed several potential witnesses, Detective Capt. Ernest Palmer said.

Officers received a call at 10:45 a.m. that a man had been shot, and arrived on scene to find Cannon dead.

Investigators did not release any further information about the slaying.

Cannon, who was born in Miami, had a brother and sister.

The victim’s mother, Maria Shabers, walked down Linwood and arrived at the scene minutes after police arrived.

Visibly distraught, she tore her jacket off, and at one point collapsed on the ground.

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At first denying what may have happened, she screamed, “My baby ain’t dead.” Shabers, after briefly talking with police, later said, “They won’t even let me hug my baby.”

She had just come into town to help her son move back with her to Seattle and get him away from Niagara Falls.

They had plane tickets for the trip — which they’ve been planning for four months — and were set to leave Saturday.

“He was going back to school and everything,” Shabers said. “He said he was trying to pursue his rap career.”

She first heard her son’s locally recorded rap album Tuesday night.

While her son did have somewhat of a troubled youth and was currently on probation, he had turned himself around recently, Shabers said.

Many of Cannon’s troubles started about three years ago when his grandmother died. The two were very close, according to Shabers.

The Rev. Jimmie Seright, executive director of the New Jerusalem of Niagara Falls Life Transformation Ministries Reporting Center for Boys, knew Cannon, who had been a participant in one of his programs.

“The young man seemed to have a kind heart,” Seright said. “He had some anger in him, but that was working itself out when he was working in the program.”

Seright had not been in contact with Cannon for over a year, since he had left the program.

Cannon had selected rap music as a way off the streets, Seright said.

Seright called on community leaders, including those in the religious community, to be more visible to help young people.

“We can’t do all that from our pulpits,” Seright said. “We have to get out there in the community.”

He also believes many young people in the Falls lack a good role model.

Shabers sees a widespread problem in society, saying the money in the community is not being used in the right places, and that children need to be taught about God in school.

Cannon’s aunt, Lisa Shabers, also believes there is a societal problem that’s hurting young people.

“It takes a community to raise a child, and nobody in the community wants to be bothered with anybody else’s child,” she said.

Contact Aaron Besecker at (716) 282-2311, Ext. 2263.

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