Niagara Falls man appears in court after fatal stabbing at McKinley Mall


HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — A man accused of following a woman believed by police to be his ex-girlfriend into the McKinley Mall in Hamburg and stabbing her to death appeared in court Thursday morning.

Keith Sparks of Niagara Falls pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in the in-store death of Mallicia Tipps, of Buffalo.

When police arrived at Sears on Wednesday afternoon, they found Tipps near the front entrance in the children’s department. Officers attempted to give her first aid but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tipps was 38 years old.

Police in Hamburg say Tipps, who family and friends identified as Sparks’ ex-girlfriend, drove to the Sears store to shop with a friend. Police say Sparks apparently followed Tipps’ vehicle to the parking lot.

While trying to get away from him, police say Tipps and her friend ran into the store. Sparks grabbed Tipps and stabbed her several times, police say.

Sears was closed for the remainder of the evening as police collected evidence. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office helicopter then assisted with air surveillance. Police did say this was not a random act and people shouldn’t be afraid.

Booking photo of Keith Sparks

Hours later, Niagara Falls police say they received a tip that Sparks was staying at a home on Independence Avenue.

Police were on scene until Hamburg officers could arrive, but around 10:30 p.m., Sparks walked out and surrendered himself before Hamburg police got to the scene. Niagara Falls police detained him.

These photos, shared by RobShots, were taken at the home on Independence Ave.

Sparks is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 1 for a preliminary hearing. Until that time, he’ll remain in the Erie County Holding Center.

The Woodmont Company, the parent company of the mall, commented on incident:

We are deeply saddened about the incident that occurred earlier today.  The safety and security of our shoppers and mall employees is our top priority and we are working closely with the Hamburg Police Department and Sears as they investigate this matter.”

Fred J. Meno, President & CEO

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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