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Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Buffalo Suspect, For Now

Police have dropped murder charges against the man accused of shooting four people to death early Saturday morning outside the City Grill Restaurant.

But, Keith Johnson, 25, is now a material witness in the case and remains in jail for an unrelated parole violation, Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said, adding he could change his mind and charge him again. Sedita said he drop the charges based on eyewitness accounts and photo evidence.

Initially, police charged Johnson with four counts of 2nd-degree murder. He was paroled in late July, after serving a two-year prison stint for assault. His mother told the Buffalo News he was invited to the anniversary party by a friend, one of the four people shot dead.

Two men, ages 26 and 30, and two women -- ages 27 and 32 -- were killed. Detectives still haven't nailed down a motive for the massacre. Sedita says the shootings were caught on surveillance video, which shows the suspect's race, gender, height, build and clothing.

Meanwhile, the wife of one of the victims is devastated. She and her husband came up from Texas to celebrate their wedding anniversary with family and friends. They were married a year ago, Saturday.

According to a local TV station, there was an altercation during the party and management asked the guests to leave. Things came to boil outside, and the bullets started to fly, hitting eight people altogether. The four surviving victims are being treated at Erie County Medical Center.

"We are very saddened by these events, I want to express my deep concern to the families of those individuals that were shot, I want to certainly express my condolences to those families who have lost loved ones," Mayor Byron Brown said Saturday.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun