Right around 9:30 p.m., a time when many people are watching TV or unwinding from the long work week, gunshots rang out on St. Lawrence Avenue in North Buffalo Friday.
For neighbors, it was the first indication of a bloody confrontation that would end with one teenager dead and two others seriously wounded.
A fourth individual was seen running away from the scene.
Police said an 18-year-old from Buffalo injured in the shooting died Saturday morning at Erie County Medical Center. One 16-year-old boy was in critical condition and a second 16-year-old boy was in stable condition at the hospital.
One neighbor who was watching TV said the shots — he estimated five were fired — sounded like firecrackers and prompted his dog to run to the back window barking.
Outside, he found one of the teens lying on the ground bleeding.
"He said, 'I've been shot,' " the neighbor said. "I took my shirt off and gave it to him and then ran inside for a blanket."
The man, who spoke on the condition he not be named, also saw two other teens fleeing over his backyard fence. "Within 10 or 15 seconds, the police and paramedics were here," he said.
A second neighbor said he heard the gunshots and immediately ordered a friend who was visiting to protect herself.
"I told her, 'hit the floor,' " he said. "I'm a Marine Corps veteran and I know gunshots when I hear them."
Once the shots ended, the man said he looked out his front window and saw a fourth man running toward the Robert M. Ryan North Buffalo Community Center and Sanders Road.
"I peeked around the curtain and saw him running down the alley," the man said.
VIDEO: Three teenagers shot earlier tonight. Conditions unknown at this time.
— Robert Kirkham (@RobertKirkhamBN) March 9, 2019
The man also said his friend heard one of the teens who was shot tell a paramedic that he lived on "Delsan," a possible reference to nearby Delsan Court.
Despite initial reports that the shooting may have been tied to a party at the community center, a man at the center Saturday said there is no evidence of a connection.
"It had nothing to do with people from the party," he said. "And it had nothing to do with the center."
Neighbors said they thought the shooting occurred on St. Lawrence, outside the center's rear parking lot.
On Saturday, the center was open and hosting a Zumba class, pick-up basketball game and defensive driving class.
On Friday, a Buffalo police spokesman said police were looking for a dark colored, four-door sedan seen fleeing the area.
"The three individuals fled the scene," said Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo. "They were found by police and first responders in the backyard of a house and were transported to ECMC with serious injuries."
Two underwent surgery on Friday night, he said.
Rinaldo also confirmed the private family party going on Friday night in the community center, and indicated 50 to 60 were at the party. He also said police do not know how many shooters were involved.
"It's still very early on in our investigation," Rinaldo told reporters late Friday.
Buffalo Police canvassed the neighborhood and talked to neighbors, Rinaldo said. He asked anyone who had witnessed the shooting to call the police confidential tip line at 847-2255.
Murray Holman, executive director of the Stop the Violence Coalition, was hopeful that the recently announced increase in rewards for tips for information regarding shootings would lead to an arrest soon.
On Thursday, Erie County officials announced an added $80,000 for reward money to Crime Stoppers Buffalo. Rewards of up to $7,500 will now be available for information called in to Crime Stoppers at 867-6161 that leads to the arrest and prosecution of homicides related to gun violence. Rewards are also available for tips regarding non-fatal shootings and information leading to weapons seizures.
"That should be significant in solving this heinous crime," Holman said Saturday.
—News Staff Reporters Colin Dabkowski and Maki Becker contributed to this report.