The Utica Police Department had a busy weekend dealing with two separate homicides in the city. One of the two murders occurred at 703 Varick Street just before midnight on Saturday. The victim in that incident has been identified.

Police officials say units were dispatched to the HK Restaurant and Lounge, for reports of a male with a gunshot wound.

Police say when officers arrived they discovered the man suffering from a single gunshot wound to his abdomen. The man was rushed to the Wynn Hospital and despite life saving efforts, the man succumbed to his injury.

Lt. Mike Curly of the Utica Police Department called in to Monday's broadcast of 'First News with Keeler in the Morning' and reported that despite the 60-70 patrons at the establishment police have had a difficult time getting any information about the incident.

Luckily, according to Curley, the ownership and staff of HK Restaurant and Lounge have been very cooperative during the course of the investigation and they believe they are closer to nailing down a suspect in the case.

Victim Has Been Identified

Utica Police released the name of the victim in the case. Police say the deceased is Kwame Smith of Utica.

Utica Police are asking residents to keep his family and friends in their thoughts and prayers.

The Major Crimes Unit of the UPD is continuing their investigation and are asking anyone with information on this incident to come forward to bring the killer to justice.

Anyone with information who wishes to remain anonymous can always submit a tip to Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers and it could lead to a cash reward. You can reach them at 1-866-730-8477 or by visiting them online at

Violent Weekend in Utica

The second homicide of the weekend happened just before 8 p.m. on the 100 block of Eagle Street.

Utica Police Car

Police say officers responded to the scene following a 911 call where the caller reported what appeared to be blood coming from their ceiling. Officials say they responded and discovered a man in the upstairs apartment covered in blood.

Officers detained him and entered the apartment, according to Lt. Mike Curley. The discovery police made was gruesome as the apartment was filled with blood and a body was discovered in the bathroom.

Police say they arrested 25-year-old Colton Shaffer of Utica and charged him with 2nd degree Murder and other charges.

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