BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Homicide detectives rushed to the scene of fatal gunfire Tuesday on Niagara Street near Jersey Street on the city’s west side.
Police responded to calls of gunfire just before 12 p.m. on Tuesday to 577 Niagara Street. Detectives say a gunman let off a volley of gunshots inside a barber shop, killing a man inside. Close friends and family members confirm the victim of the gunfire, who suffered multiple bullet wounds, worked as a barber at the shop.
“We’re in the very very early stages in our investigations, but we’re confirming now that one individual is dead on the scene,” Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards said.
Family members confirm Juan Ortiz, a Niagara Street resident, died at the hands of a gunman while at work. Concerned community members lined both sides of the street as police took to their homicide investigation. Richards said although the investigation is very much open, there appears to have been a struggle inside the barber shop.
Ortiz’s friends and family suggest it may be retaliation for a previous incident. Ortiz moved to the U.S. from Puerto Rico seven years ago, when he met and fell for his fiance, Aixa Xiomara Castro, with whom the couple parents five children.
Castro said she and Ortiz planned a beach wedding in Puerto Rico before a gunman cut her fiance’s life short.
“He could be tough, but also funny and loving. We were working to get our own shop for him and live the American dream,” Castro said.
Pastor Angel Gauthier, with Prince of Peace Christian Church, said his congregation will hold a vigil at 7 p.m. on Niagara Street near the scene of the shooting on Tuesday night. Gauthier asked the public for their prayers as police search for a shooter.
As police investigate the crime, they say they’re imploring the public to give any information available to bring the shooter to justice.
“At this point we don’t know how many people were present at the time of the shooting. We’re sorting through new information as it becomes available to determine if we’re looking for individuals, vehicles or anything else, but right now it’s very early in the investigation,” Richards said.
Police say anybody with information is asked to call the confidential tip line at (716) 847-2255.
Police in Buffalo investigated three shootings in different sections of the city on Tuesday:
- An early morning shooting just before 2 a.m. on Hertel Avenue injured two.
- A late morning shooting at about 11:30 a.m. left a man dead on Niagara Street.
- Afternoon gunfire rang out on Broadway at about 3:15 p.m.