3 arrested, 1 dead after shooting, ambush on N.Y. deputy
A 27-year-old man is accused of trying to murder the undercover deputy
Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A Syracuse man crashed the suspect’s vehicle blocks away from a shootout with an Onondaga County sheriff’s deputy earlier this month that left another man in the suspect’s car dead, according to court papers.
Vaughn Sanders, 27, was one of three people arrested Wednesday in the July 16 incident on the city’s North Side. Vaughn is accused of trying to murder the undercover deputy, who was doing surveillance on an unrelated case.
Sheriff Gene Conway characterized the July shooting as an “ambush” on Detective Mark Grady. The detective, who was not struck by gunfire, took cover and fired back.
After the shootout, Sanders drove from the scene in the rented Kia before crashing blocks away, court papers say. The occupants of the vehicle fled, leaving a mortally wounded man behind in the vehicle.
One of the other suspects, Keenan Davis, 20, was recently acquitted of manslaughter in the stabbing death of an adversary in October 2018 on the city’s North Side. A jury found Davis guilty only of using a knife illegally that night, a conviction that was sealed due to his age.
In regards to the shootout, Sanders was charged with attempted murder and weapons possession. Davis faces a weapons charge. No information about Davis’s alleged involvement was immediately available, but it does not appear he is suspected of being in the vehicle that night.
Another man, Jonqual Thornton, 23, has also been charged with attempted murder and weapon possession. He’s accused of being one of three occupants in the vehicle the night.
Besides Sanders and Thornton, the third man in the rental car was Aaron Hudson, 31, of Syracuse, deputies said. Hudson died from injuries sustained during the shootout. It’s unclear if he was killed by gunfire from his vehicle, or by the deputy’s return fire.
At least two guns were fired at the deputy during the shootout, which happened at the corner of Carbon Street and the tiny, one-way Commonwealth Avenue, according to court papers.
The incident began around 11 p.m. July 16 when Grady saw someone being thrown from the rental vehicle in the parking lot of a car wash at North Salina Street and LeMoyne Avenue, Conway has said.
Grady, in an unmarked vehicle and civilian clothes, followed the suspect’s Kia a few blocks to Carbon and Commonwealth. There, according to Conway, the Kia stopped and its occupants started firing back at Grady’s vehicle.
Grady jumped out and took cover behind his vehicle before returning fire. Witnesses told Syracuse.com at least 15 shots were fired during the incident.
Afterward, court papers say, Sanders drove the vehicle from the scene before crashing not far away at LeMoyne Avenue and Lodi Street -- a block from where the incident began.
Detectives were able to find surveillance footage in the area showing the suspects fleeing the crashed Kia, leaving Hudson behind to die.
Sanders was identified by clothing found at the scene, deputies said.
All three suspects -- Sanders, Thornton and Davis -- remained jailed as their cases awaits grand jury action.
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