BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Some local leaders consider it a community effort that the key suspect in the City Grill shootings was in police custody by Wednesday afternoon because public pressure came not only from the Buffalo police, but from clergy members, the Stop the Violence Coalition, other community groups, and the news media.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown had been saying for several days that police were closing in on a prime suspect. The mayor was out of town when Riccardo McCray turned himself in on Wednesday, but the mayor sent Eyewitness News a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying: "Over the past 24 hours, the Buffalo Police Department put intense pressure on him (Riccardo McCray), which led to him being in custody. This should be a clear signal to anyone who engages in any kind of criminal activity that they will be pursued relentlessly, arrested, prosecuted, and sent to jail."
The Reverend Darius Pridgen of Buffalo's True Bethel Baptist Church has also been very actively trying to get a suspect to turn himself even. Pridgen was also out of town on Wednesday but spoke with Eyewitness News by phone. He does not mind that McCray did not take him up on his public offer to help the suspect turn himself in to police. "For a community that has been waiting for some type of arrest and for people to be able to sleep at night I'm satisfied if he had turned himself into Disney World. I just want, if he is the shooter, just want him off the streets for this community," says Pridgen. McCray turned himself in at a television station with the help of another clergy member and a community activist.
Pastor Pridgen, his congregation and business leaders are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer. It's far from clear yet if anyone will collect that reward since the case against Riccardo McCray is still in the beginning stages.