BUFFALO, NY - Buffalo Police have arrested Darshawn Morris, 21, of 160 Hagen Street in Buffalo, and charged him with second-degree murder in the death of 13-year-old Lanasha Rollerson.
Buffalo Police Department Commissioner Daniel Derenda said at a press conference Thursday morning that Rollerson died of "multiple stab wounds" sometime between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Sunday, September 1. Derenda says the teen was at a party at Morris's home Saturday night. He did not disclose how the teen knew the suspect.
Lanasha's aunt Kareema Morris, no relation to the suspect, told 2 On Your Side, "Lanasha snuck out the house, went to a party with females affiliated with this gang. I don't think she was aware of the fact that these were gang members. She entrusted her life obviously to these girls to hang with them and it cost her her life."
Lanasha's body was discovered behind a garage on Newburgh Avenue Tuesday night. Her family had reported her missing Sunday afternoon. The media was not alerted about a missing teen until Tuesday evening, about an hour-and-a-half before she was found dead.
The family is still dismayed over the turn of events. "We did the appropriate paperwork, it wasn't taken serious. When we stressed we factually knew what was going on, there was nothing, no budging," said the aunt.
Police are awaiting lab results to determine whether Lanasha Rollerson had been sexually assaulted.
Derenda said that police, acting on numerous leads provided by the public, arrested Morris Wednesday night after he had been discharged from Erie County Medical Center. He confessed to the murder at that time.
Derenda did not say what kind of medical treatment Morris may have received at ECMC.
He said that Morris "has a few things on his record," but not a history of violent crime. He has been charged with robbery in the past. Morris told police that he is married.
When 2 On Your Side asked if the wife played a role in the events on Saturday, Derenda said she had been interviewed by police but he was not at liberty to discuss the substance of that conversation. He did not expect any additional arrests would be made in the case.
He also said in answer to a question that a report of 20 shots being fired near the corner of Hagen Street and Lang Avenue at 11:30 p.m. Saturday was not connected to the murder.
Spe2king at the press conference on Thursday, Mayor Byron Brown praised Buffalo Police officers for making an arrest within 24 hours of the body having been discovered.
When asked what message he had for parents in the wake of this tragedy, Brown said, "We have to hold our children tighter. We have to be aware of where our children are at all times."
He added that Rollerson had left home voluntarily, without her parents' knowledge, and that "even in the best of situations" it was sometimes impossible to avoid such a tragedy.
Bail was set for Morris at $1 million.