Violent Crime Task Force to take murder case

James Neiss/staff photographerThe residence at 43 S. Niagara St. where 20-year-old Cheyenne Farewell was fatally shot on Oct. 17. State and federal law enforcement agencies are joining the hunt for the gunmen. 

State and federal law enforcement agencies and the Niagara County Violent Crime Task Force will jointly investigate the murder of a Brockport State College student while she was at a Halloween party in Lockport this past Saturday night.

The announcement, made late Tuesday afternoon by Lockport Police Chief Steve Abbott and Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek, ramps up the hunt for two suspects who unloaded a hail of gunfire into a garage on South Niagara Street.

Lockport Police will lead the investigation with assistance from New York State Police, the Niagara County Violent Crime Task Force, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office. The task force is composed of investigators from the Lockport and Niagara Falls police departments and the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

They will be assisted by analysts from the Niagara Intelligence and Crime Analyst Center.

Lockport police said officers responded to a report of shots fired at about 12:20 a.m. Oct. 17 at a South Niagara Street residence. When they arrived at the scene the officers found six people suffering from gunshot wounds.

One of the victims was Cheyenne Farewell, 20, of Medina. Investigators said Farewell was attending a Halloween party with up to 120 other young people when bullets began ripping through a closed, metal garage door.

Delano Johnson, who lives at the house, heard the gunfire and went running to investigate. He said he found Farewell, who he'd known for years, crumpled on the floor. 

"We got her to the ambulance," Johnson said. "To try to bring her to the hospital, but she died right there."

The other five victims, including two Medina High School students, were transported to area hospitals for treatment for their wounds.

Abbott said detectives are investigating leads and looking to the community for help. The chief said the Niagara Intelligence and Crime Analyst Center has set up a dedicated email address for the case.

"We ask that anyone with photographs, video footage or social media pertaining to this case please send it to nicacnf@gmail.com," Abbott said. "Any information could be helpful."

Aboott said information can also be shared on LPD's Tip Line at 439-6707.

“We know that many young people attended the party and may be concerned about their parents finding out or are being discouraged from getting involved. We need your courage to come forward with anything you may know," Wojtaszek said. "This is a tragedy beyond words. Cheyenne was an innocent victim and deserves justice; her family, her friends, her community deserve justice."

The district attorney asked the community for "patience" as the Violent Crime Task Force and its partners do their work.

"Building a case takes time, diligence and tremendous effort. As most people can appreciate, law enforcement cannot always share details of the investigation with the public," she said. "I can assure you that everyone is working day and night to hold those responsible for this senseless loss of precious life accountable."

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