Falls shooter facing assault weapons charges

Niagara Falls Police were called to Pine Avenue, in the vicinity of the City Market, about 3:25 p.m. April 13 on a report of a “man shot.” (Photo by RobShots)

A Niagara County grand jury has indicted a Falls teenager in connection with a shooting incident that left another teen wounded at City Market.

The indictment charges Krestain Watson, 19, with one count each of second-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Watson pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment before Niagara County Court Judge Caroline Wojtaszek on Monday morning.

Wojtaszek ordered Watson held without bail pending further proceedings. He had been held at an unsecure juvenile facility by a state child welfare agency since he was picked up by police on April 14.

Members of the Falls Police Emergency Response Team (ERT) and detectives with the Criminal Investigation Division took Watson into custody at an apartment building on the 1000 block of 19th Street, just around the corner from where the shooting occurred.

He was arraigned before Falls City Court Judge Diane Vitello and, over the strenuous objections of police and Niagara County prosecutors, was released on his own recognizance to the county probation department. Watson is currently on probation for a conviction on charges connected to his involvement in an auto theft ring that operated in the Falls, Buffalo and Amherst.

“My office made it a top priority to get this case indicted,” Niagara County District Attorney Brian Seaman said. “The community has expressed extreme concern at this individual’s release status after he was initially charged. We acted quickly to present the matter to the Grand Jury so that we could ask a county court judge to address release. The defendant has now been remanded to the custody of the sheriff.”

The charges against Watson stem from a mid-afternoon shooting in the City Market on April 12. Falls Police patrol officers responded about 3:25 p.m. to a report of a “man shot.”

When officers arrived, they found a 16-year-old victim who had a gunshot wound to his arm. The teen was taken to the Erie County Medical Center for treatment. He has since been released.

Crime Scene Unit detectives said they recovered three spent shell casings on the east side of the market property.

Sources have said that a "personal dispute or disagreement," between the victim and a member of Watson’s immediate family in a Niagara Falls school triggered the gun violence.

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