Neighbors react after Muhammad Baqir's arrest

Neighbors who live near Muhammad Baqir are having strong reactions to his arrest.

On Sunday afternoon, Baqir drove head-on into a family's SUV on Oswego Road in Liverpool, killing 34-year-old Meagan Patterson. Baqir also admitted to using heroin that morning.

"It could've been me coming around that corner with my babies," said Susanne Trabers, who lives next door to Baqir.

Neighbors were not entirely surprised by Baqir's arrest. Trabers described him as "just really sketchy, jumpy, when he was doing whatever he was doing."

"First time I met him was down here at the gas station," said Rickey Cannon, who lives across the street from Baqir and met him about a year ago. "He informed me at the time that he was a recovering drug addict."

Police said Baqir bought the heroin on Merriman Avenue on Syracuse's West Side. Those who live on Merriman Avenue said the street has many problems.

"It's a lot of drugs, mainly the heroin," said a neighbor, only identified as Roselyn F. "I'm not surprised."

Stephanie Rivera ticked off the neighborhood's problems. "Drugs, gangs, shootings," she said. "I mean, everything you can imagine happens here."

Brad Finn, Executive Director of Prevention Network in Syracuse, said increased heroin use is a problem in Central New York.

"When we think about a heroin addict, we think about someone who lives under the bridge," Finn explained. "And that's not the case. They're usually functioning, walking, talking, working with us."

Finn said Onondaga County treatment centers have seen a 153% increase in heroin treatment from 2007-2012 for crisis cases, which involve issues including serious withdrawal or a high risk of physical harm.

"Talking to your ambulance squads, your first responders, if it's some type of a drug issue, it's usually heroin today," said Finn.

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