UPDATE: Murder Victim Identified, One Suspect in Custody
UPDATE: 02/07/2022 0950 The UPD has released a photo of Anthony Willis, the suspect arrested on Sunday.
UPDATE: 02/07/2022 0819 Sgt. Michael Curley of the Utica Police Department says that another individual was driving the car in which the incident occurred. He says that the driver was in the Fastrac store when the shooting occurred. Police say the driver indicated that there was no knowledge that the shooting was going to take place. The driver is not a suspect at this time.
Sgt. Curley says that the incident appears to have been a targeted attack. The specifics of the relationship between the victim and the suspect, and therefore a motive, is still unknown. They are still investigating and will update the public as soon as more information becomes available.
UPDATE: 02/06/2022 2055 Utica Police are identifying the man killed in the incident outside of the Fastrac located at 1800 Genesee Street.
In a written release police say the man was pronounced deceased as soon as police arrived on the scene, at approximately 1:55pm today, February 6, 2022. He is identified as 43-year-old Aaron Higgs of Utica. He was seated in the front passenger seat of the car. Police say he had been shot at least once in the back of the head.
The Utica Police Department says that they received information that the suspect in the shooting was located near an address on Noyes Street. Several officers went to the location and found, in the back of the residence, a man who matched the description of the suspect. He was taken into custody without incident and brought to the Utica Police Department.
Police said, "In viewing the surveillance video and through witness accounts it was determined that the party the officers took into custody was the individual that perpetrated the crime, and that he was seated in the backseat of the same vehicle the victim was located in at the time of the shooting."
It was discovered that the suspect, identified as 38-year-old Anthony Willis of Utica, was also allegedly carrying a "large quantity of narcotics and over $40,000 in cash" at the time.
A handgun was also found in the car where the alleged crime took place. The weapon is being tested by ballistics experts to determine if it was used in the murder.
Authorities say that they are still working to determine the relationship between the suspect Willis and the victim Higgs.
Willis is currently facing the following charges:
- Murder in the 2nd Degree
- Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree
- Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 3rd Degree (two counts)
- Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th Degree
Police are asking any witnesses or those with information that might be helpful to the investigation to please call the Utica Police Department's Major Crimes Unit at: (315) 223.3556. Calls, e-mail, and messages may also be left anonymously with Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers by calling: 1-866-730-8477 (TIPS), by visiting www.mohawkvalleycrimestoppers.com, or by using the P3 Tips mobile app. All information received by Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers is 100% confidential.
The UPD is also asking the public to keep the family of Mr. Higgs in their thoughts and prayers during this time.
UPDATE: 02/06/2022 1609 The UPD is confirming that no one else was injured. WIBX has learned that a suspect was seen fleeing on Shepard Place.
UPDATE: 02/06/2022 1523 Police say they initially responded to the scene for a report of shots fired. They confirm that they have located a deceased male in the vehicle.
UPDATE: 02/06/2022 1516 The Utica Police Department says it is investigating a shooting that took place outside of the South Utica Fastrac, located at 1800 Genesee Street, at approximately 12:00noon today.
The incident is being ruled a homicide and police are now on the scene conducting a forensic investigation.
The area, according to the UPD, "will be closed for the foreseeable future."
More details will be released as soon as they are available.
Breaking News: Utica Police are currently on the scene of a fatal incident at the FastTrac convenience store at 1800 Genesee Street in South Utica.
According to a witness, a man in the passenger seat of a black Kia sedan is deceased. There is no one else in the vehicle.
Police are there taking photos of the vehicle and the surroundings. The nature of the incident is unknown at this time, however, a witness claimed that a group of people who arrived at the scene seemed despondent and were not allowed to approach the car.