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Committee formed in response to double murder

WBFO News photo by Chris Caya

Tuesday's double-homicide in Buffalo has mobilized neighborhood activists. A local lawmaker is forming a new committee to help stop the violence.

The Stop the Violence Coalition held a rally Wednesday morning at the intersection of Bailey and Minnesota Avenue, not far from the site where 28-year-old Shameka Harris and 23-year-old Joshua Eatman were gunned down just after midnight Monday.

Buffalo Police say Harris and Eatmon were sitting in a cab near their Minnesota Avenue residence when eight shots were fired in their direction. Harris's death leaves four children without a mother.

Erie County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant says the Buffalo and Erie County Safe Neighborhood Initiative will be made up of community members, anti-crime groups, elected leaders, and law enforcement.

"We're going to have people from the county. We're going to have the Erie County Sheriff's Department and, hopefully, New York State Police to meet on a monthly basis to see how can we strategize to stop these killings and work together collaboratively so that this does not happen again," Grant said.

The victims had apparently been in a blue Dodge Caravan taxi, believed to have been operated by the female when multiple shots were fired.  Both victims were rushed by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center, but they succumbed to their gunshot wounds.

Investigators tell the Buffalo News they don't believe the killings were random acts of violence and that the victims were targeted.  Police continue to look for clues into the double homicide.

"This is a safe neighborhood. This is part of the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood where billions of dollars have been invested," said Grant.

The killings raise to 47 the number of city homicides in 2012, up from 34 in 2011. Grant says only 20 percent of the year's homicides have been solved.

Anyone with information regarding the shootings is asked to contact Buffalo police through the confidential TIPCALL by calling or texting a tip to 716-847-2255.

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