BUFFALO, N.Y. – Tanisha Mackin was supposed to see her baby daughter christened this week at Durham Memorial AME Zion Church in Buffalo. Instead, she sat grimly in a pink suit in the front pew beside a casket containing the body of her husband of one year.
The funeral Thursday for Danyell Mackin, who would have turned 31 on Monday, began three days of funerals for the victims of the four victims of the shootings outside a restaurant where the couple known as "Tee and Dee" were celebrating their first anniversary. Police are still looking for the gunman.
"You have always been my rock and backbone," the young widow wrote about her husband in a program filled with family photos. "I do not know what I am going to do without you."
She did not speak as she entered the church or as she sat at the front, at times holding 7-month-old Destinee while the couple's young son, Danyell Jr., sat nearby. But the 31-year-old mother wrote in the funeral program that she is "lost and confused."
They were married Aug. 14, 2009, in Austin, Texas, both employees of BBBA-Compass Bank. Danyell was killed a year to the day later, hours before a second, more formal party with hometown family and friends.
"This is what happens to families," said the victim's mother-in-law, Cheryl Stephens, who pleaded from the pulpit for an end to gun violence.
News reports have cited a possibility that gangs were behind the shooting, and witnesses have been reluctant to come forward. Outside the church, Mayor Byron Brown said that he believed police would make an arrest but that witnesses need to talk.
"They are closing in on the individual or individuals responsible," Brown said. "The police have extremely good leads right now."
Investigators have said security cameras outside the City Grill captured images of the gunman as he fired into a crowd of people after managers, concerned that trouble was starting, shut down the crowded restaurant about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
Police have not said whether they believe any of the eight people shot were intended victims.
The dead include two cousins, Shawn-Tia McNeil, 27, and Tiffany Wilhite, 32, whose joint funeral is scheduled for Friday. Services for the fourth victim, Willie McCaa, 26, are scheduled for Saturday.
Of the four men wounded, only 30-year-old Demario Vass remained hospitalized Thursday, in critical condition.
"Somebody knows something," the Rev. Darius Pridgen of True Bethel Baptist Church said during Mackin's funeral. The city's religious and business communities were prepared to offer a reward for information if the shooter, whom he called a "coward," had not been caught by Friday, he said.
Gov. David Paterson sent his condolences to the Mackin family, which were read aloud at the funeral.
"Danyell will be remembered as a devoted and loving husband and father," the statement said.
Outside, Arlee Daniels Jr., chairman of the Stop the Violence Coalition, said he feared the shooter remained a danger to himself and the community.
"We just don't know what the mindset of the gunman is," Daniels said.
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