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Spat between Carl Street neighbors escalates into deadly shotgun shooting

A beautiful Saturday afternoon turned deadly in the city's Grider Street neighborhood, when an ongoing spat between neighbors escalated quickly into a shotgun blast that killed one man and wounded at least four others.

The victim, a 20-year-old man who was struck multiple times by shotgun pellets on Carl Street, died a short time later, Buffalo police said. Police did not release his name.

At least four others, including a 15-year-old girl, were struck by stray pellets of bird shot, police said.

Investigators don't believe the shooting was gang-related.

"From what we gather so far, it was some kind of on-going neighborhood dispute that escalated into someone getting their hands on a shotgun," said Lt. Jeff Rinaldo, Buffalo Police Department spokesman.

After deadly shooting on Carl Street, four victims in good condition

Police are investigating the possibility of two shooters, but no arrests have been made.

"They have a person of interest they're looking at right now," Rinaldo said, "but there could be as many as two potential suspects."

Just after noon on Saturday, an argument or fight began involving several people on the porch of a house in the 200 block of Carl Street, which is between East Delavan and Northland avenues.

"Initially, there was a group of people," Rinaldo said, "but the violence escalated between two."

Two of the shooting victims were taken to Erie County Medical Center, while the others who were wounded were walk-ins at the hospital, according to a police report. Two had been shot in the hand.

Three of the four surviving victims were treated and released from the hospital on Saturday, including the 15-year-old girl, Rinaldo said.

"It was just an argument that happened between two people and they took it to the next level," said Pastor James Giles, coordinator of a neighborhood coalition known as Buffalo Peacemakers. "It was an argument that escalated into a fight that escalated into a shooting."

Giles, who was among the mourners who spilled out onto Carl Street near the crime scene, said he knew the victim from when he was involved in a Peacemakers mentoring program.

"Now you got another black man dead," Giles said.  "My heart is just bleeding for the community at large."


Two to three dozen people lingered on Carl Street hours after the shooting, and emotions were raw. People wept, hugged and collapsed into each others' arms. Some fell to their knees.

Several uniformed officers were on the scene blocking traffic down Carl, as investigators interviewed people in the neighborhood.

Elaina Fields was in her house on Carl when her son heard  the gunshots.

"I just came outside and cops were in front of my house and in my driveway," said Fields, 36.

She described people running down the street and scrambling through backyards after the shootings.

"I just moved here, and a neighbor told me it happens all the time on the street," she said. "Now this."

Fields'  neighbor across the street had similar concerns in the aftermath of the afternoon violence.

"I just don't know what to say about this street – just a lot of stuff happening," said the woman, who asked her name not be used. "I don't even sit on my porch – too many teenagers."

One longtime resident said Carl used to be a quiet street, but "every now and then" something happens.

She pointed to the small pellet hole in the back of her car parked on the street.

"I just heard the shots and came out," the woman said, "which was stupid, because he could have shot me."

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