Re­ward of­fered in boy’s death from stray bul­let

‘He had the rest of his life in front of him,’ po­lice say in seek­ing shoot­ers

The Buffalo News - - FRONT PAGE - By Maki Becker and Phil Fair­banks

His name was Badraldeen Mo­hamad El­waseem.

Known as Badr, he was a sev­enth-grader at School 45. And he was 12 years old. Po­lice say the boy was in­side his fam­ily’s sec­ond-floor apart­ment a lit­tle af­ter 8:30 p.m. Satur­day when a bul­let came fly­ing into his house and struck him in the head.

Badr was raced to Oishei Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal but could not be saved.

Badr’s brother wrote a heart­break­ing post on his Face­book page in the hours af­ter his lit­tle brother’s death.

“Never in a mil­lion years did I think I would be writ­ing this,” his brother wrote on Face­book. “To­day my 12 year old brother was killed while watch­ing TV in the liv­ing room. My brother was shot through the win­dow to the head. To­day, I lost my world, my brother, my breath, my pur­pose, my rea­son, my mo­ti­va­tion, my ev­ery­thing. Words can’t ex­plain how much you meant to me. Words can’t ex­plain how much pain I’m in.”

Badr was killed when gun­fire erupted in the park­ing lot of the Towne Gar­dens shop­ping plaza at Wil­liam Street and Jef­fer­son Av­enue.

That’s when the bul­let flew roughly 100 yards across Wil­liam into the up­per-floor apart­ment, strik­ing him in the head.

“This is a 12-year-old kid,” Po­lice Capt. Jeff Ri­naldo told re­porters Satur­day night. “He had the rest of his life in front of him. I can’t even imag­ine what those par­ents are go­ing through.”

Mayor By­ron W. Brown on Sun­day iden­ti­fied the boy, and po­lice said Crime Stop­pers and the FBI are of­fer­ing a com­bined re­ward of $12,500 for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the ar­rest of the killer.

“The Buf­falo Po­lice De­part­ment will not rest,” Brown said at a Sun­day af­ter­noon news con­fer­ence. “We will con­tinue to look for the per­son or per­sons re­spon­si­ble for this crime.”

School of­fi­cials late Sun­day re­leased a state­ment con­demn­ing gun vi­o­lence that they said has killed or in­jured too many chil­dren in Buf­falo’s neigh­bor­hoods.

“While we are fo­cused on their grad­u­a­tion and bright fu­tures, it is al­ways hor­rific and unimag­in­able when a child is taken from us in this way,” said School Su­per­in­ten­dent Kriner Cash and School Board Pres­i­dent Bar­bara Nev­er­gold.

“Board Pres­i­dent Nev­er­gold and I call on our faith­based in­sti­tu­tions, our cit­i­zens groups, our par­ents, our mayor and elected of­fi­cials, and our schools – all of us – to work to­gether to in­crease the peace and take clear mea­sures to end the vi­o­lence now,” Cash said.

A sec­ond vic­tim, iden­ti­fied as a 22-year-old man, also was shot dur­ing the in­ci­dent. He

was taken to Erie County Med­i­cal Cen­ter and, af­ter surgery Satur­day, was listed in sta­ble con­di­tion.

Po­lice are not com­ment­ing on whether the shoot­ing was gang-re­lated, but Towne Gar­dens Plaza is next door to the Towne Gar­dens hous­ing com­plex that fed­eral prose­cu­tors be­lieve served as a base of oper­a­tions for the CBL/BFL street gang.

The FBI ar­rested 11 al­leged gang mem­bers last Au­gust and charged one of them with two mur­ders. At the time, U.S. At­tor­ney James P. Kennedy Jr. said gang mem­bers lived at Towne Gar­dens and sold drug­sout of their homes.

“We don’t know that for a fact,” Ri­naldo said of pos­si­ble gang in­volve­ment Sun­day. “At this point, we’re still in the very early stages of our in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Ri­naldo said po­lice are still try­ing to de­ter­mine if there was more than one shooter, but de­clined to com­ment on whether there are any known sus­pects.

A man who lives a block away from the shoot­ing said he heard at least a dozen gun­shots while watch­ing TV Satur­day night.

Once he came out­side, po­lice and paramedics were al­ready on the scene at Towne Gar­dens Plaza and across the street out­side a two-story build­ing on Wil­liam, he said.

The man, who spoke on the con­di­tion he not be named, said he saw stretch­ers at both lo­ca­tions. A red teddy bear sat out­side an en­trance to the Wil­liam Street build­ing.

“You’re not go­ing to find a bet­ter fam­ily,” said a man who pulled up at the build­ing and said he knew the boy’s fa­ther. The fam­ily came from Ye­men.

The man said Badr played with his chil­dren.

“I just told them the news, and they’re home right now cry­ing,” he said.

Dozens of shell cas­ings were found in the park­ing lot where the shoot­ing broke out, a po­lice source said.

Sun­day morn­ing, dozens of empty liquor bot­tles lit­tered the park­ing lot and a small grassy field across the street on Wil­liam, not far from where Badr was shot.

The neigh­bor who heard the gun­shots and saw the stretch­ers said he saw peo­ple par­ty­ing in­side and out­side a bar on Wil­liam Street.

Po­lice is­sued an ur­gent plea for any wit­nesses to come for­ward.

“This is a tragedy,” Ri­naldo said Sun­day morn­ing. “The com­mu­nity doesn’t stand for this vi­o­lence. The Buf­falo Po­lice De­part­ment is not go­ing to rest un­til we get to the bot­tom of what hap­pened here. We’re ask­ing any­body out there with any in­for­ma­tion, no mat­ter how small, to call or text the po­lice con­fi­den­tial TIP-CALL line at 716-847-2255.”

Peo­ple can also call Crime Stop­pers Buf­falo at 867-6161.

Badraldeen Mo­hamad El­waseem, 12, died af­ter be­ing shot while watch­ing TV in his home.

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