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A man who suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder showed up at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Amherst early today, telling authorities he was wounded in a shooting on the Youngmann Highway.

The gunshot wound proved real, but the story apparently wasn't, state police suggested after investigating.

Instead, the wounded man and two companions are being held in the State Police barracks in Clarence as possible suspects in a homicide that occurred at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in Rochester.

Police now are theorizing that the man with the bullet wound could have been shot in an exchange of gunfire with the person who was killed in Rochester.

"The investigation is continuing, but we currently have three suspects in custody who may have been involved in the shooting in Rochester," State Police spokeswoman Charlene Mahony said.

The man showed up at the hospital at about 2:30 a.m. Based on his claim, Amherst police took one of his two companions, a woman, for a ride on the Youngmann to see whether she could show them where the shooting took place.

"It was determined that she couldn't identify any place where this alleged shooting occurred," State Police Senior Investigator Thomas G. Rash said.

Trooper John Smolarek, who had seen the police Teletype about a suspect with a similar description in the Rochester homicide, later made the possible connection between the two incidents.

Rochester police were en route to Clarence to question the three.

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