Buffalo Bills fans who were in the parking lot outside Ralph Wilson Stadium close to where a Western New York man took his own life late Saturday night said they were stunned by the turn of events.
The unidentified Western New York man, who was described as middle-aged, shot himself at around 10:20 p.m. in the sold-out camper lot on Abbott Road, Orchard Park Police said. Police attempted life-saving measures on the man, but he died at the scene.
“This is an isolated incident,” Orchard Park Police Chief Mark Pacholec said in a news conference Sunday morning.
“Given that there were multiple calls and multiple witnesses ... we wanted to try to address it and put it to bed as quickly as we could,” Pacholec said.
Bills fans interviewed Sunday morning in the camper lot said the man was part of a group of people who were dancing to music played by a DJ stationed in his area. They said they did not see or hear any kind of confrontation before the incident.
Fans parked nearby said at first they weren’t aware a shot had been fired, since fireworks were being shot off elsewhere at the same time.
After police arrived on the scene, fans were told to return to their campers, said Steve Trow, an Ohio resident. “Everyone dispersed.”
Sunday morning, the parking lots surrounding the stadium were in fully revelry, anticipating the Buffalo Bills’ season opener against the Indianapolis Colts. But fans near where the incident took place reflected on the loss of life.
“It’s like a pit in your stomach,” said Shawn Hanson, a local native who now lives in Connecticut. He had gone to bed before the shooting and didn’t learn about it until he woke up.
“Everybody’s talking about it,” he said.