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Man stabbed to death in quarrel at Drifters bar

A man was fatally stabbed early Sunday during a quarrel in a Kenmore sports bar that has been the scene of numerous neighborhood complaints, police reported.

Carlos Gibson, 26, of West Avenue, Buffalo, died about three hours after a man stabbed him in Drifters bar, 1141 Military Road, less than a mile from the Kenmore-Buffalo border, officers said.

Gibson was convicted of a felony drug-trafficking crime in 2009, and Kenmore police are investigating to determine whether the stabbing had anything to do with drugs, law enforcement officials told The Buffalo News.

Police were searching for a Buffalo man they wanted to question in connection with the death.

Gibson was stabbed twice in the bar at about 2:50 a.m. He was rushed by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center, where he died about three hours later, Police Chief Carl J. LaCorte said. The chief said he could not say what touched off the altercation.

According to police and neighborhood residents, Drifters has been a trouble spot in recent years, with officers investigating numerous calls of disturbances, especially on weekends.

LaCorte and other Kenmore officers recalled that Drifters' liquor license was temporarily suspended last year due to neighborhood complaints, and they said the license holder was fined by the Liquor Authority. A check of the agency's records Sunday did not verify a suspension last year but did show that in March 2007, the state assessed the establishment a $1,000 civil penalty.

The small, brick establishment sits at the corner of Military and Hamilton Boulevard, near a neighborhood of well-maintained homes.

When a reporter visited Drifters on Sunday afternoon, bar owner Joseph A. Guarino politely stated that he did not wish to comment on the situation, except to say that he and his staff are "doing everything we can" to help police investigate the fatal stabbing.

Two neighbors were highly critical of Drifters but would only comment if The News agreed not to publish their names.

"It's a constant problem for people who live in this neighborhood, with loud music at all hours of the night, people revving up motorcycles and big fights in the parking lot," one neighbor said.

The neighbor said police have been responsive to complaints, but he said he is disappointed that the Liquor Authority has not shut Drifters down.

The other neighbor concurred, saying she hopes the stabbing will result in more scrutiny of the tavern by both police and the Liquor Authority.

LaCorte asked anyone with information to contact the department at 875-1234.

Investigators said Gibson, the victim, is known to police because of past arrests. Authorities said court records show that he was convicted of a felony count of attempted criminal sale of drugs in February 2009 after an arrest by Buffalo police. His sentence from that case was not available Sunday.

The man who is sought for questioning is also believed to have been involved with drugs, authorities said.

e-mail: dherbeck@buffnews.com

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