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NU student killed during apt. robbery
17-year-old charged with student's murder
Updated: Friday, 09 Dec 2011, 5:58 PM EST
Published : Friday, 09 Dec 2011, 5:25 PM EST
Posted by: Eli George
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Niagara University is filled with heavy hearts. A teenager stands accused of fatally shooting a college student with a sawed-off shotgun.
NU student Brandon Johnson, 20, was gunned down during a robbery attempt late Friday night, authorities say.
Niagara Falls Police Capt. William Thomson said, "It's very disturbing that a 17-year-old has got a sawed-off shotgun and is going around trying to rob people."
The horrific shooting happened inside an apartment at University Court, an off-campus neighborhood. Police have arrested 17-year-old Gordon Jackson of Niagara Falls. He's charged with murder and attempted robbery.
"From our investigation we learned that the suspect went to this specific apartment to attempt a robbery," Capt. Thomson told News 4.
Police say the suspect did not know the victim personally, but went inside the apartment with another person who knew some of the people there.
Capt. Thomson explained, "He had initially gone inside the house with one other person from the car. They were in there for a few minutes. He left the apartment. Went to the car. We believe that's when he got the shotgun from the car."
Police say Jackson fled the scene, but was later picked up without incident at 17th Street and Pierce Avenue.
Joseph Conrad lives in the neighborhood and saw the commotion. He tells News 4, "I know the police try to do the best they can, but there's not enough of them. They need more of them."
Falls Mayor Paul Dyster countered, "We can't prevent every crime in the City of Niagara Falls, but I think the fact that this was only, and I use that word advisedly, but only our third homicide of the year shows that at least in terms of fatal violent crime, we're making progress."
Sadness has swept across Niagara University after losing one of its own: Brandon Johnson, a junior accounting major from Rochester.
NU spokesman Tom Burns said, "A terrible tragedy, uncharacteristic of Niagara University, which makes it even more shocking for us on the campus. It's a difficult day for us."
While the incident happened off-campus, NU sent out a text, e-mail and voicemail alerts to the campus community informing them of the situation. The university also held a prayer service for Brandon Johnson early on Friday.