Groom dies as wedding party caught in crossfire
Manhunt under way as detectives piece together possible motives
A bridegroom celebrating his own wedding was believed to have been one of four people shot dead outside a restaurant in the city of Buffalo yesterday. Four more were wounded.
The gunmen have so far not been identified and a major manhunt is under way in and around the large industrial city in upstate New York.
The tragedy happened outside a restaurant called the City Grill at 2.30am yesterday as a large group of about 100 people left at the end of a wedding celebration.
The dead included two men and two women and police have not yet released their names. News reports said one of those killed was the groom, who had travelled from Texas.
The Buffalo News reported that one of the dead women was called Tiffany Wilhite, 32.
"It's just a senseless killing. A senseless random killing. And this kind of thing just has to stop," the victim's father, Raymond Wilhite, told the newspaper.
Police said they are not sure how many people were involved in the gunfire, and do not know whether it happened because of an argument or if some of the guests were deliberately targeted.
"We're trying to sort all of that out. We're checking to see if something precipitated this from inside," said Buffalo homicide chief Dennis Richards.
Bullet holes had shattered some windows in nearby businesses and three of the bodies lay outside in the street for several hours while crime scene investigators tried to reconstruct exactly what had happened to trigger the mayhem.
Tommy Dates, 35, said he had been in the bar when he noticed that the pre-wedding party was ending and people were leaving.
"Then, suddenly, people started rushing back in as shots rang out. Everyone was in a panic," he said.
The tragedy in Buffalo's downtown has left residents of the city deeply shocked, with grieving friends and relatives outside the restaurant weeping and hugging each other.