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Cops Hunt Party Crashers In Fatal Shooting

June 4, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ Gunshots that killed one man and wounded five other people at a church basement party celebrating a baptism apparently were fired by gang members who had crashed the festivities, police said Monday.

At least two guns were fired late Sunday in the packed basement of St. Constantine & Helen Church in the borough of Queens, according to one investigator.

Although the shooters were believed to be gang members, detectives believe a ``petty, drunken dispute″ _ not gang rivalry _ set off the shooting, said the investigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

All six of those shot apparently were bystanders to the dispute. The baby was not harmed.

The family had made no attempt to make the youthful gate crashers leave the party, the investigator said.

Witnesses told the Daily News that the crowd included members of two rival Mexican gangs, the M16s and La Familia. Police would not confirm that.

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