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1 person killed in shooting outside Cheektowaga restaurant

Officers responded to a fight involving possibly 20 people and shots fired in the parking lot of the 33 Speakeasy Grill on Genesee Street.

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — Cheektowaga Police are investigating a deadly shooting that happened overnight Wednesday.

Officers responded to the 33 Speakeasy Grill on Genesee Street early Wednesday morning for a report of a fight involving possibly 20 people and shots fired in the parking lot.

When officers arrived on scene, they found a 24-year-old man on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds. The officers began life-saving efforts until paramedics arrived. The victim, identified as DeAngelo Williams, 24, of Buffalo, was taken to ECMC, where he later died. 

Flashing lights from Cheektowaga police cars in the parking lot of the 33 Speakeasy Grill on Genesee Street are no surprise to residents on nearby Colden Court, who say for the past year, since a new bar owner took over, there have been numerous problems.

They did not want to be identified, but one did speak out off camera as others brought up issues like car break-ins and property issues.

That neighbor told us: "People just in the parking lot screaming, yelling, dancing, music, doing doughnuts. I don't even know if they go in the bar and patronize it and spend money there. They just sit in the parking lot and party, start fights."

The neighbor added: "Running down the street when fights start, things like that. I asked the police if they would put a car across the street just to monitor the noise, the screaming, the yelling, the fights, and maybe that would stop."

About 1 a.m. Wednesday, that fight that apparently led to the shooting was caught by a neighbor's security camera. 

As that neighbor also pointed out they sought to bring it to the attention of town leaders and police.

"I've sent emails and videos to the town supervisor, to the detectives of Cheektowaga and to the SLA (State Liquor Authority)."

Did they get any responses?

"Many responses; they were working on it," the neighbor said.   

Police Chief Brian Gould says they have tried to patrol more in the area even with checkpoints and traffic stops.

"I agree with the neighbors that there are problems there, and I would be upset," he said.

While a bar employee told me the manager or owner had no comment and was waiting to speak with detectives, the chief says he's been in touch with the State Liquor Authority on the bar's liquor license.

"We've had communication back with one of their investigators, and we've had other bars in the town that we've successfully shut down," Gould said. "It doesn't happen as quickly as we like. We know that once we establish a big enough case against an establishment that we do see actions from out of the State Liquor Authority."

An SLA spokesman says they have opened an immediate investigation into the 33 Speakeasy Grill, They are seeking all police reports and will take appropriate action. That is even though again the chief says he previously spoke with an SLA investigator. 

Cheektowaga Town Supervisor Diane Benczkowksi says she and the town board were also aware of the problems and are seeking a specific nuisance law to give the town and police more authority for such future situations. 

Meanwhile police detectives are still looking to identify the suspect. 

If anyone has any information on the shooting, you're asked to contact Lt. Justin Haag at (716) 686-7457 or send a confidential text to TIP411 (847411) and start your message with CPDNY. You can also visit cpdny.org to leave an anonymous tip.

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