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Charges dropped over US shooting

A prosecutor has dropped charges against a man initially accused of killing four people and wounding four others outside a restaurant in Buffalo, New York.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III asked a judge to dismiss four murder counts against Keith Johnson, 25, of Buffalo in light of new evidence.

He said the shooter had been caught on CCTV. "We can see the race, gender, the height, build, the clothing of the perpetrator," Mr Sedita said after city court Judge Patrick Carney granted the request. "You can see many of the perpetrator's actions. We have him shooting on video."

Investigators pleaded again for witnesses to come forward and warned that the person responsible for the City Grill shootings was still free.

Johnson was released on parole in July after serving two years for assault. He remains in jail over an alleged parole violation for being at the bar on Saturday, and investigators said he could be a witness in the City Grill case.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said many people saw the shootings. More than 100 people were outside the restaurant when police arrived shortly after 2:30 am, he said. An altercation at the City Grill prompted managers to close the restaurant. As people were leaving, a man began shooting, police said.

Four people, including a Texas man who was celebrating his first wedding anniversary in his hometown, were killed. Among the four wounded, one was critically injured.

Johnson was arrested by a Buffalo Police SWAT team. People who were at the party identified him by name, one witness picked him out of a photo line-up, Johnson gave inconsistent statements and a search of his home yielded clothing with blood on it, Mr Derenda said. The blood hasn't been tested yet, police said.

"We acted on what we had. If we had the same information today and were given the same scenario we would have had the same result," Mr Derenda said. "We acted quickly to rectify a situation where we were wrong, and we turned it around as quickly as possible," he said.

Johnson's mother told a local newspaper her son was at the restaurant at the invitation of his friend, Danyell Mackin, the Texas man who was celebrating his wedding anniversary. Police identified the three others killed as Willie McCaa III, 26, Shawnita McNeil, 27, and Tiffany Wilhite, 32.


From Belfast Telegraph