BUFFALO, N.Y. – A grand jury indicted a high school dropout on upgraded charges of first-degree murder Wednesday in three of four fatal shootings outside a downtown Buffalo bar.
Riccardo McCray, 23, is accused of opening fire on a crowd outside the City Grill early on Aug. 14, killing a Texas man who was celebrating his one-year wedding anniversary and three guests, two of them women.
After a three-day review, an Erie County grand jury also handed up a charge of second-degree murder in one of the slayings and four counts of attempted murder. The top murder count wasn't applied in the first slaying but "one of the possibilities for murder in the first degree is when you kill more than one person in the same criminal transaction," prosecutor James Bargnesi said.
McCray pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail. If convicted, he could get life in prison without possibility of parole.
McCray, who was in special education programs before quitting high school, was charged with four counts of second-degree murder last week after he surrendered to authorities at a local television station.
Bargnesi told the judge that McCray only surrendered after initially fleeing to North Carolina, where he has relatives. Defense attorney Terrence McKelvey disputed the claim, adding that "he's adamant about his innocence."
The restaurant's managers, reacting to a dispute, had decided to close early and told patrons to leave. One witness said about 200 people crowded onto the sidewalk, some trying to quell a shoving match in a parking lot.
Among the dead was 30-year-old Danyell Mackin, who was celebrating his first anniversary with his wife, Tanisha, who was not injured. They were originally from Buffalo and lived in Austin, Texas. Also killed were Tiffany Wilhite, 32; Shawntia McNeil, 27; and Willie McCaa, 26.