Aug. 28—NIAGARA FALLS — Police detectives were back on Ninth Street Friday afternoon, armed with search warrants, following an early morning shooting that left one man dead and three others injured.
Sources said investigators were searching for security cameras attached to two apartment buildings across the street from the shooting scene. Detectives hope the cameras may have captured images of the shooting incident.
Shortly after 1 a.m., Falls police patrol cars responded to the 400 block of Ninth Street for a report of “shots fired.” Witnesses said they heard what sounded like “automatic weapons fire.”
When officers arrived at the scene, they found a four-door car with the back of the vehicle over the curb and back into a vacant lot. Five bullet holes were visible in the car’s passenger window.
Officers found Donald Rogers Jr., 30, of Falls, inside the vehicle, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Rogers was immediately taken to Niagara Falls Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Other men, suffering from gunshot wounds, were taken to NFMMC in private vehicles. They were treated for injuries that were described as non-life threatening.
A woman, described as a passenger in the car hit by the hail of gunfire, suffered multiple injuries from shattered windows in the vehicle. Her injuries were also described as non-life threatening.
Crime Squad detectives found 20 spent shell casings around the scene. Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Division spent the day Friday trying to identify the shooter or shooters involved in the incident.
They are reportedly making “slow progress” and have appealed for help from the public.
Rogers, who the sources described as a “street gang member and drug dealer,” was well known to Falls police, particularly Narcotics & Intelligence Division detectives.
In May 2021, Rodgers was charged with second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, fleeing an officer with a motor vehicle, fourth-degree criminal mischief and 12 vehicle and traffic citations as a result of an encounter with NID detectives. Rodgers was in a car with two passengers in the 2200 block of Whitney Avenue, and narcotics detectives said they watched as the vehicle stopped.
Acting on information they said they had that there might be guns and drugs in the vehicle, narcotics detectives approached it.
Rodgers reportedly saw the detectives approaching and he and the passengers began to roll down the vehicle’s open windows, trapping a detective’s hands in the car. As Rodgers began to drive away, the detective was forced to run alongside the vehicle until he could free himself.
The detective was not seriously injured.
Rogers’ car was found later that day unoccupied and behind a home on Greenview Terrace in the Center Court neighborhood.
Several days later, NID detectives and members of the US Violent Crime Task Force found Rogers in another car in the 600 block of Elmwood Avenue. Investigators said they were able to surround the vehicle and take Rogers into custody.
Inside the car, detectives found a loaded Taurus .45 caliber handgun, six grams of suspected cocaine, 20 Hydrocodone pills and more than $1,300 in cash.
This led to Rodgers being charged with second and third degree felonies in possession of a weapon and multiple counts of drug possession.
He had been released on bail and those charges were still pending before his death early Friday morning.
Rogers is the city’s eighth homicide victim of 2022.