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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Syracuse man in police custody in shooting death on Kenmore Avenue

4-10-2012 New York:

Syracuse, NY -- A man is in Syracuse police custody in the homicide of Chance Gathers, 33, who was shot March 23 as he stood on a porch in the 100 block of Kenmore Avenue.

Gathers, a level 3 sex offender, later died from his wounds at Upstate University Hospital.

Demetrius Hackett, 19, was arraigned in Syracuse City Court this morning on a charge of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a gun. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf and he was ordered held without bail.

Police have scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. in the Public Safety Building to release the details of the arrest. ..Source.. by Robert A. Baker / The Post-Standard


Syracuse police chief: Motive for Chance Gathers' homicide was retaliation


Syracuse, NY -- Demetrius Hackett shot and killed Chance Gathers March 23 in retaliation for the shooting death last year of Hackett's brother, Pierre Hackett, Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said this morning.

Demetrius Hackett, 19, of 110 Helen St., was arraigned this morning in city court on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Hackett is accused of shooting Gathers, 33, about 3:30 p.m. March 23 while Gathers was on a porch at 157 Kenmore Ave.

Hackett quickly became a suspect but was evading police, Fowler said. The police department's warrant squad found him Monday night and brought him in for questioning, Fowler said. He was charged shortly afterward, Fowler said.

"It appears this was in retaliation for a homicide," Fowler said.

Pierre Hackett, 23, was gunned down just before noon on Aug. 1 as he was walking in the 100 block of Merriman Avenue with his cousin Leroy Hackett and Leroy Hackett's two young daughters.

Pierre Hackett's father witnessed the attack. Pierre Hackett died several hours later.

The homicide remains unsolved, Fowler said, but Gathers' name did come up as a possible suspect.

At a news conference today, Fowler said Hackett fired a handgun at Gathers, hitting the man in the lower back. Court papers said Hackett fired several times and indicate the bullet that struck Gathers injured his kidney and aorta.

When police arrived, they found Gathers lying on his back near a fence line with a civilian performing CPR on him, Fowler said. The first arriving officer assisted the civilian until emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene and took over. Gathers was taken to Upstate University Hospital, where he died, Fowler said.

Fowler said he is not sure whether the shooting is gang related.

The day before Pierre Hackett's fatal shooting, July 31, Leroy Hackett was the victim of gunfire on South Avenue, suffering wounds to the arm and hand.

Immediately after the shooting of Pierre Hackett, Pierre's father Benjamin Hackett removed a loaded handgun from Pierre's pants. Benjamin Hackett handed the gun to his brother, Leroy Hackett Sr., who took the weapon and placed it in the trunk of his car, according to lawyer Thomas Ryan, who defended Leroy Hackett Sr. Police recovered the weapon after stopping the car moments later on Grace Street.

A grand jury opted in October not to file any criminal charges relating to possessing the handgun. The gun was taken, Ryan said, to prevent further violence.

Hackett was arraigned in Syracuse City Court this morning in front of Judge Vanessa Bogan, who entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf and ordered him held without bail. Hackett is expected back in court on Friday.

Kimberly Freeman, mother of both Pierre and Demetrius Hackett, said that Demetrius was innocent of the charges.

"I know he didn't do it," Freeman said of her son today.

"Chance Gathers was terrorizing the neighborhood and terrorizing my family," she said.

On Aug. 6, Gathers, a level 3 sex offender, was charged by Syracuse police with gang assault, a felony, and criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor, according to The Post-Standard archives. On Aug. 18, Gathers was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment, both felonies, the archives show. The disposition of those cases is not known.

Fowler said the Gathers homicide is still under investigation and credited civilians coming forward to help solve the shooting. Fowler said they provided tips that pointed toward the suspect.

"If you look at the citizen cooperation, it's there," Fowler said, adding that citizen cooperation is the greatest deterrent to crime. ..Source.. by Robert A. Baker, The Post-Standard

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