His work friends at the Towne Restaurant didn't even know Nelson Camacho by his first name. They called him Lobo, the Spanish word for wolf, his nickname as a kid because he always ran wherever he was going.
But Lobo couldn't run away from the assailants who shot him and his brother, Miguel, to death Thursday night in their Niagara Street apartment.
The Camacho brothers were gunned down at about 9:45 p.m. Thursday in their home at 879 Niagara St., as neighbors reported hearing several shots fired inside the downstairs apartment. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.
Those who knew Nelson, 36, and Miguel Camacho, 25, took issue Friday with any suggestions that they were targeted because of any drug involvement, love triangle or illicit activity.
"I've known Lobo since the day he stepped on Buffalo soil (in 1988)," said his boss, Dino Scouras, owner of the Towne. "He's not a drug dealer. He's not a killer. He's never been arrested, as far as I know. We just can't believe this would happen to him. Maybe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
One of the Camacho brothers, Luis -- there were 10 siblings in the family -- found the bodies Thursday night, after receiving a phone call from another brother.
Police called it a gruesome scene, citing numerous shots fired from a large-caliber weapon.
"I've never seen, not even in the movies, what I saw," Luis Camacho said outside the apartment.
"We are going to put this in the police's hands," he added. "Whoever did this has to pay, the way they did it."
Witnesses told Major Crimes Unit detectives they spotted three people fleeing the scene after the shots were fired. The homicide scene is a few doors from Massachusetts Avenue, not far from the Peace Bridge.
"We don't know what the motive is yet," Lt. Margaret Sack of the Major Crimes Unit said Friday. "It's all pretty much an open investigation right now."
Neighbors and loved ones provided detectives with one possible scenario, that the motive may have revolved around the mistaken information that Nelson Camacho had won a large sum of money in a recent Lotto game. Rumors had circulated that he won $65,000 in the lottery; in fact, he won $200, friends and relatives said.
"There's no proof that anybody went in there thinking they had $65,000," Sack said. "We can't confirm or deny that."
Friends described Nelson Camacho as a soft-spoken man, a hard worker and a talented cook who served as more of a sous chef at the Towne, a popular restaurant at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Allen Street.
"Everybody here is devastated. Everybody," Scouras said. "We're all shocked that, of all the people, it would be him. He was the nicest person. He never got into an argument with anybody."
The younger brother, Miguel, was known as Flaco, Spanish for skinny. Blind in one eye for virtually his whole life, he was on Supplemental Security Income. More than anything, he was known for his sense of humor.
"They were good people," Luis Camacho said, breaking down in tears several times, in front of his late brothers' home. "There was no reason to do this."