By Carolyn Thompson
BUFFALO, NY — A shooting outside a restaurant in downtown Buffalo early Saturday killed four people, including a man in town to celebrate his first wedding anniversary, and wounded four others, police said.
The victims were leaving a large party inside the City Grill in the city's business district at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday when gunfire erupted. Police said they were investigating reports that at least one person had been escorted out of the restaurant moments before.
"There were verbal things going on. Management apparently chose to close down and have everybody leave the restaurant," Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards said. "People were leaving when this shooting happened."
Investigators did not know how many shooters there were.
Late Saturday morning, police converged on a Buffalo house and brought one man out in handcuffs. Police would not say whether it was related to the shootings.
Mayor Byron Brown and police officials scheduled an afternoon news conference.
The dead included two men, ages 26 and 30, and two women, who were 27 and 32 years old, Richards said. Three were pronounced dead at the scene and the fourth died at a hospital.
The 30-year-old man was in town from Texas for an anniversary celebration scheduled for later Saturday, Richards said. His wife was not among those struck by gunfire. The couple had ties to Buffalo, Richards said.
Authorities did not release the victims' identities. Raymond Wilhite said his 32-year-old daughter, Tiffany Wilhite, was among those killed.
"A senseless, random killing," said Wilhite, who returned to the restaurant a few hours after the shooting. "This kind of thing just has to stop."
The wounded were all men. Spokesmen at Erie County Medical Center and Buffalo General Hospital confirmed some of the wounded were brought in but declined to release their conditions.
Tommy Dates, 35, of Buffalo, said he was at the bar area of the restaurant with his friends when he noticed a party had broken up. He said people started leaving the restaurant but rushed back inside a few minutes later.
"A lot of people were real upset, just trying to get out of the way," Dates said at the scene about two hours after the shootings. "Everyone was in a panic."
A message left for the restaurant's owners was not immediately returned.
Three covered bodies lay in front of the restaurant for several hours, one of them on the sidewalk across the street. About 20 people stood behind yellow crime scene tape, some trying to console grief-stricken relatives and friends.
The window of an office next to the Main Street restaurant was shattered, as was glass in a subway entrance across the street.
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