Firefighters found 54-year-old Joseph Lawrence Jr. shot once in the stomach. Lawrence was transported to ECMC where he died during surgery.
Cheektowaga investigators found that Lawrence was shot by his landlord and downstairs neighbor, 53 year-old Thomas Szczesniak.
Cheektowaga Police Captain Scott Pilat said, “They were also friends, acquaintances, there was an argument in the driveway and a single gunshot.”
Police believe the two were arguing before the shooting and at some point it escalated.
Those who know him say Szczeniak has lived in this neighborhood for more than a decade.
Overall, neighbors say the area is quiet and the crime came as a shock.
Greg Schwan said, “It’s a quiet neighborhood there hasn’t been anything that’s happened; it’s really awkward that this happened, it’s a big thing because it’s a quiet community.”
Szczesniak was charged with murder in the 2nd degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the 2nd degree.
Szczesniak is being held at the Erie County Holding Center without bail. He will be back in court on the 29th.