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Buffalo restaurant slaying suspect pleads not guilty

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Buffalo shooting suspect surrenders
  • Riccardo McCray is set to appear in court again next week
  • In interview with TV station, he said he is innocent
  • He surrendered at the TV station
  • Shootings left two men and two women dead
  • Shootings

For more coverage on this story, check out CNN affiliates WIVB and WGRZ

(CNN) -- Riccardo McCray, 23, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of second-degree murder in connection with a shooting that left four people dead and four others wounded in Buffalo, New York, police said.

"This man is the prime suspect in this case and he's the only person at this time arrested for the murders of four people," Buffalo Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards told HLN about the shootings that occurred August 14 on Main Street outside City Grill Restaurant.

McCray's next court date is next Wednesday for a felony hearing.

At a felony hearing, as at a preliminary hearing, prosecutors must lay out their case against a suspect, showing why there is cause to believe the person committed the crime.

After the felony hearing, if a judge neither dismisses nor reduces the charge, the case goes before a grand jury.

McCray was taken into custody Wednesday at a Buffalo television station, WIVB, where he had gone at the suggestion of a community activist his family knew, according to his attorney, Terrance McKelvey.

The activist had "some concerns about whether or not he would be fully protected en route with the magnitude of the search that was going on for him," McKelvey said. "He decided at that time that it would be in Mr. McCray's best interest to first show up at a television station, which would be a very public venue, demonstrate that at that time he had no scar or injuries to his body and thereafter arrange for the Buffalo police to take control."

At the station, McCray told a reporter he did not know who the shooter was. "If I knew who did it, I would come forward and tell you all who did it, 'cause that's a hurtful feeling," he told WVIB.

He added that he hit the ground as soon as he heard shots and saw nothing.

Alerted to McCray's presence by the station, detectives arrived and took him into custody without incident.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda wouldn't discuss details of what led police to McCray, but said, "We believe we have a very solid case."

But he said many witnesses remain to be interviewed. In an unusual move, he appealed to news outlets not to use McCray's picture, saying it "could taint further identifications of the suspect."

The shooting erupted after the restaurant's approximately 100 patrons were asked to leave the restaurant's bar after an argument. Among the two men and two women killed in the City Grill shooting was a 30-year-old Texas man celebrating his wedding anniversary.

A 25-year-old man was arrested shortly afterward, but charges against him were dropped when new evidence cast doubt on his involvement.