The mayor's street -- considered one of the safest neighborhoods in the city -- was the scene of a homicide in which a 70-year-old woman was found stabbed to death in her Blaine Avenue home.
Buffalo police identified the victim as Mary McAllister. They are unsure whether it was a random or targeted attack.
McAllister's body was discovered at about 9 a.m. Wednesday inside her apartment at the rear of 148 Blaine, a white 2 1/2 -story house with a few rental apartments. Neighbors said she had moved into the apartment about six months ago and lived alone.
Police released few details about the homicide, the city's 15th of the year. A police source who asked not to be identified said a butcher knife believed to be the weapon used was found tucked inside McAllister's clothing. The source also said a fire extinguisher was sprayed throughout her apartment in what might have been an attempt to cover up the crime scene.
The slaying occurred just a block from Mayor Byron W. Brown's home in Hamlin Park -- a quiet neighborhood east of Main Street near Canisius College, known for homes with neatly manicured lawns and college students living on- and off-campus.
"I'm very shocked because this stuff doesn't happen in this neighborhood," said Gary Dobbs, a seven-year resident of Blaine.
"It's a safe street, and we don't have any problems here," he said. "We felt safe here even before he became mayor."
Several neighbors said the street is constantly being patroled by city police cruisers and college public safety officers in marked cars. And a police car is stationed outside the mayor's house on most nights, they said.
Dobbs was among neighbors who gathered outside the homicide scene Wednesday morning, staring in disbelief as detectives searched for evidence outside the Victorian-style house.
Police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said McAllister was last seen walking into her house at about 6 p.m. Monday.
Police responded to a request to check on the welfare of the victim at about 9 a.m. and discovered thes body, DeGeorge said.
"There appears to be no signs of forced entry," DeGeorge said. "At this point it is too early to determine a motive."
Wednesday afternoon, the victim's daughter arrived at the scene and ran toward the house.
"No! No! No! No! No!" the woman screamed, as police officers tried to console her.
Neighbors described McAllister as a devout Jehovah's Witness who often waved to her neighbors as she drove away in her car.