BUFFALO, New York -- Eight people leaving a party at a downtown Buffalo restaurant were shot early Saturday, four of them fatally, including a man returning to his hometown to celebrate his first wedding anniversary, police said.

Managers had decided to close the City Grill in the city's business district after an altercation inside. The victims were leaving around 2:30 a.m. (0630 GMT) when a man who had been inside began shooting, police said.

"There were verbal things going on. Management apparently chose to close down and have everybody leave the restaurant," Chief of Detectives Dennis Richards said. "People were leaving when this shooting happened."

Keith Johnson, 25, of Buffalo, was charged Saturday afternoon with four counts of second-degree murder and could face more charges. Johnson was in custody late Saturday afternoon and unavailable for comment.

Police didn't know whether Johnson was involved in the earlier altercation and asked witnesses to speak up.

"We need people to come forward," said Police Commissioner, who estimated there were 100 people at the scene when police arrived.

The group was attending a party in advance of a more formal anniversary celebration scheduled for later Saturday, authorities said. The couple, Danyell Mackin, 30, and his wife, Tanisha, married in Texas a year ago and had returned to celebrate with Buffalo-area friends and family, authorities said. Tanisha Mackin was not hurt.

"An occasion that should have been a joyous one, a happy one, turned tragic," Mayor Byron Brown said Saturday near the restaurant, a popular stop for office workers during the week and people attending theater and sporting events at night.

The Mackins had been friends since they were 13 and started dating in 2001, according to a website created to commemorate their marriage and provide details about the celebration.

The couple has a six-year-old son, Danyell Jr., and a seven-month-old daughter who was scheduled to be christened Sunday, the website said.

One man remained in critical condition Saturday night, police spokesman Michael DeGeorge said. Two more men were in stable condition. And another man who was shot in the elbow, was in good condition.

Three covered bodies lay in front of the restaurant for several hours, one of them on the sidewalk across the street. About 20 people stood behind yellow crime scene tape, some trying to console grief-stricken relatives and friends.

"It was horrible seeing members of our community lying in the street," the mayor said.

The window of an office next to the Main Street restaurant was shattered, as was glass at a light-rail stop across the street.

"Nobody knows why," Martin said. "Somebody else was just shooting in a crowd." (AP)