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2 dead in Amherst murder, suicide Former girlfriend shot in car outside pizzeria

A Buffalo man shot his former girlfriend to death, then shot himself fatally in the temple, in a murder-suicide inside the woman's idling vehicle outside an Eggertsville pizzeria late Tuesday night, Amherst police said today.

Amherst police found Denine Reese, 35, of Cheektowaga, in the driver's seat of her vehicle after responding to an 11:31 p.m. call at Leonardi's Pizzeria, 614 Grover Cleveland Highway. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gregory Ellis, 36, was found in the back seat. He died at 1:07 a.m. today in Erie County Medical Center.

Amherst police said the couple had split up a while ago. Amherst Police Chief John J. Moslow Jr. said it was apparent that Ellis was having difficulty with the breakup.

Detectives today still were trying to confirm the events leading up to the double shooting.

"It looks like it could be a possible kidnapping, where he jumps in the back seat with a gun and tells her to drive," Moslow said today. "That's one possible scenario, but we're not sure at this point."

Detectives early today located Ellis' vehicle on Corporate Parkway in Am herst.

They also learned that Reese, who was pursuing a master's degree in business administration, may have left a class in that area at about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.

"Did he lie in wait in the parking lot or hide in the vehicle, or did she agree to go for a drive with him?" Capt. Timothy Green said, outlining some of the possibilities. "We may never know."

Moslow said Ellis fired the shots from a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun. Police did not disclose where or how many times Reese was shot.

Tuesday night's murder-suicide was the second homicide case investigated by Amherst police this year, in a town known for being one of the nation's safest "cities." Detectives have charged Patrick Farrell, 17, of Buffalo, in the stabbing death of Dr. Joseph D. Matteliano, 64, inside the dentist's Kim Circle home Feb. 2.

e-mail: gwarner@buffnews.com

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