Fun on one of the busiest nights out in Downtown Syracuse turned to tragedy after a 26-year-old was shot and killed outside of an Armory Square bar in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day.
28-year-old veteran Sangsouriyanh Maniphonh is accused of firing two shots at Jonathan Diaz on Walton Street, where several bars are located. They had been kicked out of “Corner Bar” after an argument and fight, when police say Maniphonh shot Diaz in the chest.
One local woman was just ending a fun night out with some girlfriends and was walking on Walton Street, heading home.
“We heard the gunshots and everybody froze,” Lauren Ward said.
Most were running away from the sounds of gunfire, but Ward did the opposite— her first instinct was to run toward the danger, something she had never done before.
“I just wanted to help. Somebody was hurt and my heart was with them, and I wanted to do what I could do,” Ward said.
She joined officers, doing CPR on Diaz as blood gushed from his chest.
“When I looked in his eyes, I didn’t see any life behind his eyes. His vision of his face is burned into by brain forever, something I see when I close my eyes. It’s why I wasn’t able to sleep last night,” she said.
“I’m just thankful that I was there to help. There were other bystanders that jumped in to help, it wasn’t just me. Like the lady who sells roses all the time threw her roses, ran over, tried to help, tried to get a pulse on him. We tried to the best we could for somebody none of us even knew,” Ward continued.
According to Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, Diaz and Maniphonh knew each other before the fatal altercation, but he did not know the extent of their relationship.
Fowler said Maniphonh was in legal possession of his firearm, but said he should not have gone into the bar with his weapon.
“Legal or illegal, no one should bring a weapon into a bar. What is the point of that? If you feel that an establishment is that dangerous that you need to carry a weapon, the wise thing is to do what: don’t go there. It’s really that simple,” Fowler said.
Maniphonh was taken into custody about two minutes after the shots rang out. He is charged with second-degree murder and could be facing 25 years to life if convicted.
Diaz succumbed to his injuries shortly after being transported to the hospital.
“I just want his family and friends to know that he didn’t die alone, that there were people that cared, that we tried to do everything that we could for him and I’m just sorry it wasn’t enough,” Ward said.