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Wrong man arrested in Buffalo killings

Angela Smith and Sonya Thigpen consoled each other yesterday outside City Grill in Buffalo, the scene of a shooting in which Smith’s longtime friend, Tiffany Wilhite, was killed. Angela Smith and Sonya Thigpen consoled each other yesterday outside City Grill in Buffalo, the scene of a shooting in which Smith’s longtime friend, Tiffany Wilhite, was killed. (Don Heupel/Associated Press)
Associated Press / August 16, 2010

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BUFFALO — Saying the real shooter had been caught on tape, a prosecutor dropped charges yesterday against a parolee initially accused of killing four people and wounding four others outside a downtown restaurant.

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

“We can see the race, gender, the height, build, the clothing of the perpetrator,’’ Sedita said after City Court Judge Patrick Carney granted the request. “We have him shooting on video.’’

Still, investigators pleaded for witnesses to speak up and warned that the person responsible for the City Grill shootings on Saturday continued to elude them.

Johnson was released on parole in July after serving two years for assault. He remained in jail yesterday on an alleged parole violation.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said that after Johnson’s arrest late Saturday, witnesses began calling to say authorities had the wrong man. But many of the callers were not around when investigators called, he said.

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