Man accused in Port Washington shooting charged with homicide 2 days later

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Niyoktron Martin

MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee man already facing charges in connection with a shooting that happened during an attempted carjacking in Port Washington is facing more charges — accused in connection with a homicide that happened two days later, allegedly during a robbery. Prosecutors say his own phone number helped investigators link him to this crime.

Niyoktron Martin, 21, faces one count of felony murder.

According to a criminal complaint, police were called out to the area near 38th and Good Hope around 11:15 a.m. on May 18 — where the victim, who would have turned 26 in June, was found in a parking lot — bleeding from the chest. Investigators found spent .380 caliber casings, copper bullet jacketing and a partially smoked cigar at the scene — sent to the Crime Lab for DNA analysis.

Police spoke with witnesses — teachers at a nearby school. They said three men were fighting in the parking lot, apparently over a handgun. They said two men were punching and kicking a third man, who was on the ground, unable to fight back. The witnesses said they then heard multiple gunshots, and saw one of the men standing over the victim with a handgun. The two men then each got into separate SUVs and fled the scene.

An autopsy revealed the victim suffered three gunshot wounds — one to the upper chest. His death was ruled a homicide.

Vigil for man killed near 38th and Good Hope

On May 21, Martin was arrested after the non-fatal shooting in Port Washington that happened on May 20 — two days after the homicide at 38th and Good Hope. The complaint says police recovered Martin’s cellphone and his blood-stained pants. Martin’s co-defendant in the Port Washington shooting, Lavander Blanks, was also arrested on May 21, and a firearm was recovered from an apartment where Blanks was arrested. An investigation revealed that firearm had been purchased by the 38th and Good Hope homicide victim in July of 2015.

Investigators spoke with the fiancee of Blanks, who said Martin is his cousin. She said while she and Blanks were watching a news story about the 38th and Good Hope homicide the day it happened (May 18), Blanks said he was “worried about (Martin).” They agreed to let Martin stay with them in Port Washington. Martin was dropped off at their home that night, and said he “needed to hang low because things are hot in Milwaukee.” Blanks’ fiancee said she saw Martin “loading cartridges into an extended firearm magazine” that he took from a backpack. Additionally, she said she heard Martin tell Blanks he’d been contacted by his cousin, who said they “need to handle something.” Martin told Blanks his cousin had set up a robbery, which Martin said he was present for, armed with a pistol. Martin said the 38th and Good Hope homicide victim had reached for his pistol, and Martin shot him.

Vigil for man killed near 38th and Good Hope

The complaint notes that Martin’s cousin, who set up the robbery, was a cousin of the man who ended up shot and killed. That person was shot and killed on Aug. 1 — but the complaint says there’s no known connection between the homicide of this individual and the role he played in the robbery/homicide at 38th and Good Hope.

Investigators used the telephone number provided by Martin when he was booked into jail to map the physical location of his phone at the time of the homicide. It was determined his phone was communicating with a tower less than a quarter-mile from the homicide scene one minute after it happened.

Meanwhile, at the Crime Lab, analysts determined the DNA from the partially smoked cigar recovered from the homicide scene matched that of Martin, as did the DNA found on the blood stained pants recovered from Martin. Those pants also contained the DNA of the homicide victim.

Port Washington shooting on May 20

The Port Washington shooting involved an 18-year-old victim and happened during an attempted carjacking downtown.

Port Washington shooting

Lavander Blanks

Martin is facing the following charges:

  • Attempted first degree intentional homicide – as party to a crime
  • Attempted armed robbery – as party to a crime
  • Felony bail jumping
  • Endanger safety by reckless use of a firearm – as party to a crime
  • Obstructing an officer

Blanks is facing the following charges:

  • Attempted first degree intentional homicide – as party to a crime, repeater
  • Attempted armed robbery – as party to a crime, repeater
  • Endanger safety by reckless use of a firearm – as party to a crime

Port Washington shooting

According to a criminal complaint, the victim was parked in his car near Main and Wisconsin Streets around 10:30 p.m. Investigators say he was approached by Martin and Blanks, and ordered out of the vehicle at gunpoint.

Officials say the victim tried to quickly reverse his vehicle to flee, but was shot in the shoulder. He transported himself to the nearby police station for treatment — as he dialed 911.

During the investigation, the complaint says officers caught up with two men who were driving near the crime scene on more than one occasion. One of the men stated he had been receiving texts from Lavander Blanks following the shooting, who offered $75 for a ride out of Port Washington.

The complaint says that man picked up Blanks from a location on Franklin Street in Port Washington. During the ride to Milwaukee, investigators say Blanks instructed him “to take the back roads, not to enter downtown and if he saw the police — leave.”

Meantime, the Port Washington Police Department received numerous tips regarding two men seen running from the shooting scene toward Franklin Street, along with someone who saw two men on several occasions enter an apartment building near Franklin and Jackson Streets.

On May 21, investigators observed a man matching the description of one of the men involved in the shooting exit the apartment building on Franklin Street. He was taken into custody and identified as Martin.

A search warrant was executed at the apartment located on Franklin Street. Officials say Blanks was found inside, along with a 9mm handgun and numerous 9mm rounds of ammunition and shell casings  — which were substantially similar to those found at the crime scene.

Law enforcement presence Monday afternoon after shooting in Port Washington

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