Keith Johnson is a free man today.
The 25-year-old parolee was released from custody this morning after police held a press conference yesterday to announce they had arrested the wrong suspect in a shooting spree that left 4 people dead.
Johnson was taken into custody Saturday afternoon when police and SWAT team members raided his home. He was released after investigators reviewed surveillance video and interviewed additional witnesses.
In all, 8 people were shot following a verbal altercation inside the City Grill in downtown Buffalo early Saturday morning. The managers had decided to close the City Grill around 2:30 am to disperse the crowd. About 100 patrons were exiting the restaurant when gunfire from outside drove them back inside.
The bodies of 3 people (1 man and 2 women) were left covered for hours on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. One man died later at a local hospital.
The argument that sparked the shooting occurred during a one-year wedding anniversary celebration for Danyell Mackin, 30, and his wife, Tanisha, 31, who married in Texas a year ago. Mackin was among those killed. Tanisha was not hurt.
The Mackins, who grew up in the same neighborhood, had known each other since they were 13 and began dating in 2001, according to the AJC. Their friends referred to them as “Tee” and “Dee.”
The couple have a 6-year-old son, Danyell Jr., and a 7-month-old daughter, Destinee, who was scheduled to be christened this morning.
“An occasion that should have been a joyous one, a happy one, turned tragic,” Mayor Byron Brown said Saturday near the City Grill, a popular destination for the after-work crowd and sports fans.
James Robbs, one of the victims, confirmed that there was only one gunman responsible for this massacre. Shaneesha White, sister of Shawn-Tia McNeil, who died during the gunfire also confirmed that Keith was not the gunman. [link]
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III had expressed doubts early on that police had the right person in custody. He told a newspaper that after reviewing surveillance video from the scene, he noted that the evidence showed “certain discrepancies of people and clothing.”
The Mackin’s reception was to be held Saturday afternoon at a nearby community center in Buffalo. A message left by the couple on a personal website said the reception was “dedicated to the people who meant so much to us and that we lost.” [link]
The website identified the other three victims as Willie McCaa III, 26; Shawnita McNeil, 27; and Tiffany Wilhite, 32 (McNeil’s cousin).
“A senseless, random killing,” said Wilhite’s father, Raymond Wilhite, who returned to the restaurant a few hours after the shooting. “This kind of thing just has to stop.”
Source: 1, 2, 3, 4