Deadly shooting outside Utica store, crowd gathers and becomes chaotic

John Spratt

Police in Utica say they're investigating the fatal shooting of a man who was gunned down outside a store.

Officials tell local media that John Spratt of Utica was shot several times around 9:45 p.m. in front of Mahanna's Market on Whitesboro Street.

Police say Spratt, 45, who lived nearby, was found inside a hallway next to the store.

Officials say investigators are trying to determine what led to the shooting. No arrests have been reported.

Spratt's cousin, Earlene House, says the family called him "Curly".

"He was a good person. He was loved by all his family members. His father lives across form the murder scene," says House.

His sister-in-law, Jackee Spratt says his big family will be leaning on each other for support.

"We're going to take care of each other, we're going to love each other, and we're going to guide each other through this. Those who need to be held up will be held up by the strong and the weak will be carried. And thats how we're going to do this," says Spratt.

Bottles were thrown at police about an hour after the shooting as dozens of people gathered at the scene. Sgt. Steve Hauck with the Utica Police Department says other police agencies were called to the scene to help control the crowd.

"It was a dangerous situation. We're here to get to the bottom of what happened and then to watch our back from becoming victims ourselves. It's an unfortunate situation and it's uncalled for," says Hauck.

Police say there were more than a hundred people surrounding the scene, yelling and shouting. Spratt says those people were family members consoling each other.

"We weren't treated as victims. We were treated like we were guilty too and that wasn't fair," says Spratt.

Spratt was a registered sex offender for a 1996 incident.

Flowers and candles have been placed in the spot where "Curly" took his last breath.

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