NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WIVB) – An 18-year-old man is facing charges in a shooting at the Niagara Falls City Market.
The accused shooter has already been released from jail and police are not happy about it.
During Krestain Watson’s arraignment Thursday, the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office requested he be held on cash bail or bond.
But City Court Judge Diane Vitello, who was presiding over the case, ruled that electronic monitoring is good enough.
The victim in the shooting, a 16-year-old, was with a group of people and was shot in the arm. The victim was taken to ECMC and has since been released.
The shooting, which happened Tuesday afternoon, sent shoppers and people in the busy shopping complex scrambling.
“There were definitely people who saw it, but there were a number of people who would’ve been endangered by Mr. Watson’s actions,” said Captain John Conti of the Niagara Falls Police Department.
Police say Watson ran from the scene and that they have recovered video surveillance related to the shooting.
Watson now faces charges of assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon. City Court Judge Diane Vitello allowed Watson to be released to probation services and tracked via electronic monitoring, without having to post any bail.
This doesn’t sit well with police.
“It’s obviously concerning, I know the district attorney’s office was concerned,” said Niagara Falls Police Superintendent John Faso.
The Niagara County District Attorney’s Office says the charges Watson faces are bail eligible.
Shootings continue to be an issue in the city.
And, police officials have a message to city residents to be ready for police crackdowns all summer long.
“We’re focusing on the hotspots, we’re focusing on our top offenders with guns and violence and we’re going to continue all summer long,” Faso said.
One week ago, 11 law enforcement agencies conducted a police sweep, getting guns and drugs off the streets. Police say the detail conducted more than 120 traffic stops and encounters; 11 felony arrests; 20 misdemeanor arrests; four narcotics charges and two gun arrests.
Rising crime has been a nationwide problem.
“Our overall crime index compared to last year is down, but unfortunately, yes the violent crimes are on the rise,” Faso said.
Police say State Police and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office will be doing regular patrol in the city.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.