Family urges witnesses of stabbing to talk

Family members of a girl who has died from a stabbing are asking community members who witnessed what happened on Wednesday afternoon to start talking to law-enforcement officials so that an arrest can be made in the tragic incident.

In a phone conversation with the OBSERVER on Friday afternoon, a spokesman shared a number of frustrations while noting the family is mourning the loss of a 15-year-old. That family member also was critical of city police, noting they let the person who was responsible for the death get away.

Through Friday there had been no arrests though law-enforcement has indicated they are seeking a person of interest. That person, a female, is believed to be in her 30s.

The relative of the victim also said Dunkirk police have not been communicating with them. He noted the first time they had been in contact with the officers was around 10 a.m. Friday.

In the meantime, a video of the incident has been circulating through social media. The same relative pleaded with those who are circulating the video to stop. He said the family is hurting at the moment and that video is causing even more pain.

“It’s very upsetting,” he said, “but everyone (who is not talking) is able to post videos. We need justice to be served.”

The OBSERVER, which posted a photo from the video on our web site, took it down after requests by the family.

Scenes from that video obtained by the OBSERVER provide haunting details. Right before the stabbing on Lincoln Avenue in Dunkirk, about 50 people knew something was going down. A crowd had gathered in anticipation of a confrontation.

One of the teens is running in the street and begins pummeling another female. This incident occurred in front of a blue home on the avenue.

Almost immediately, onlookers try to get between the two, who battled for 10 seconds.

Punches were thrown and hair was being pulled. The total video is 20 seconds and may include the stabbing incident.

It does give insight into the tensions that were evident in that neighborhood around 4 p.m. The alleged stabbing, which is believed to have been done by an older female, took place around 4:06 p.m. Numerous police agencies were called to the scene.

As of late Friday afternoon, there was no sense of relief in the city. Some parents were said to have held their children out of school due to a threatening text sent out late Thursday or early Friday.

Calls to the Dunkirk superintendent’s office on Friday were met with hostility. “That (stabbing) had nothing to do with the school. It happened a couple of days ago,” said the secretary who answered the phone indicating she would have the superintendent call the OBSERVER back.

Later in the afternoon, a joint statement was made by city Mayor Wilfred Rosas and Superintendent Dr. James Tracy to ensure the parents of the district that the schools are safe. Although this incident didn’t happen on school property, both noted city of Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano has additional patrols in the area to protect the residents and the students. Please be advised that the schools are safe, there are added patrols, and there is no reason not to send the students to school.

“The police chief, the superintendent and I have been working together since the time of the incident, in order to provide a sense of calm and ensure the safety of our kids,” Rosas said. “Please be assured that the area is once again safe.”

Officials said if there are any concerns regarding the school, parents should contact the school resource officer at Dunkirk High School at 366-9300 ext. 2062; for other concerns, individuals are encouraged to contact the city of Dunkirk Police Department at 366-2266.

In regard to the stabbing, police are continuing the investigation and no arrests have been made in connection with the incident. Anyone with information can call the Dunkirk Police Department at 366-2266 or they can leave an anonymous tip on the department’s tip line at 363-0313. All calls will be kept confidential.