Ch. 7 Inside Church During Police Lockdown

August 17, 2010 Updated Aug 17, 2010 at 6:50 PM EDT

By Ginger Geoffery

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August 17, 2010 Updated Aug 17, 2010 at 6:50 PM EDT

Buffalo police locked down an East Ferry housing complex and a church on Tuesday afternoon as they continue to search for the gunman who killed four people outside the City Grill in downtown Buffalo over the weekend. A Channel 7 news crew was inside the True Bethel Baptist Church when police put it on lockdown shortly after 12:30 p.m. At the request of police everyone inside the church, including the news crew and all the customers in the attached church-owned Subway shop, were ushered into another part of the building away from windows.

"All of a sudden the police came in and told us we had to lock down the building, bring everyone in who was outside," says True Bethel Pastor Darius Pridgen.

At the same time a couple of blocks farther east on Ferry police surrounded the Ferry Grider Homes. "They got everybody... won't let anybody go in," says Brendonia Trotter who was waiting to go into the complex with groceries, "I mean, I'm happy if they get whoever they're looking for, then it would be all worth it."

"We've never had a lockdown here but we've always been prepared for it oddly enough because we never know," says Pridgen.

During the lockdowns of the church and the Ferry Grider Homes officers searched cars and questioned many people while the Erie County Sheriff's department helped out by searching from the air in a helicopter, but the effort turned up no suspect. Pastor Pridgen though says an officer told him that police did bring in someone for questioning on Tuesday in connection with the shooting.

Police are very tight-lipped now about this case especially after they arrested and then released the wrong man over the weekend. Police insisted on Tuesday that they have no suspect in custody in connection with the downtown deadly shootings. Meantime, if there's no arrest by Friday Pastor Pridgen is prepared to put up a monetary reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction.

"Myself and some people from the business community are ready to offer a significant reward for the capture because I don't want to lock down my business every other day or to have children or parents or seniors afraid in their own neighborhood," says Pridgen. Pridgen though is not announcing the amount of the reward.

Meantime, Buffalo's mayor and other city leaders will meet in private Tuesday night at St. John the Baptist Church to discuss new crime-fighting plans.