LOCKPORT — A pair of teenagers are facing charges in connection with a shooting in Lockport that caused injuries to five people and resulted in the death of 21-year-old Medina High School graduate and SUNY Brockport student Cheyenne Farewell.
Members of the Niagara County Violent Crime Task Force announced the arrest of the two teens — ages 16 and 17 — during a press conference on Wednesday at the Niagara County Courthouse building.
The suspects have been charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and a felony of intentional murder. Both suspects are currently being processed through juvenile court and as a result their identities have not yet been released by authorities.
“This is still an ongoing investigation and more charges are pending,” Lockport Police Chief Steve Abbott said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference announcing the arrests. He said the department is still looking for any information from the public related to Saturday’s shooting.
Niagara County District Attorney and Violent Crime Task Force member Caroline Wojtaszek said of the other five shooting victims – one 21 year-old female, one 18 year-old male, one 16 year-old male, one 16 year-old female, and one 15 year-old male – two were from Medina, two were from Lockport, and one was from Corfu.
“We anticipate many additional charges, including charges under a depraved indifference theory of murder and charges for each and every one of the shooting victims from Saturday morning,” she said. “This is a tragedy beyond words. Cheyenne was an innocent victim. She deserves justice, her family deserves justice and this community deserves justice.”
Bail for both suspects was set at $500,000 cash, and $1 million bond. They are scheduled to return to court on Oct. 26.
Wojtaszek said that while the criminal matter is being handled through youth court, both suspects are expected to be tried as adults.
"We still have that ability because of the serious nature of the charges," she said.
Wojtaszek said there has been an uptick of gun violence across the nation, state and county. There have now been 16 homicides committed in Niagara County this year compared to three or four a year ago, she said.
“We have seen higher numbers than I’ve ever seen in 25 years in criminal law in this county. The alleged shooters in this case are 16 and 17 years old,” she said. “I need this community to rally, to not accept this behavior, to tell everyone to put the guns down.”
Wojtaszek joined Lockport Mayor Michelle Roman and Abbott in offering their deepest condolences to Farewell's family and the families of the other five victims. They also called on residents to provide investigators with additional information that may prove valuable in the case.
“As you know, the first 48 to 72 hours are very critical in regards to any homicide investigation,” Abbott said. “This is still an ongoing investigation and more charges are pending. … We still need the public to come forward if they have any information.”
“I’d like to thank everyone from the public who has come forward with information and I encourage people to continue to do so,” Roman said. “And for those who were involved as victims and witnesses … to know that we do have we mental health support for you."