Skaneateles, N.Y. — The quick actions of a few guests at a Skaneateles wedding party this weekend prevented a bad situation from possibly becoming a tragic one.
A drunk guest who was kicked out of the wedding Saturday after groping four women and getting into a fight returned with an assault rifle, according to state police. He loaded the weapon in the driveway of the home on Stump Road where the reception was being held, police said.
Interviews and witness statements to police obtained by syracuse.com | The Post-Standard describe how the bride and groom’s day took a terrible turn.
Wedding photographer Colin Wheeler said he was inside a tent taking photos as guests danced when he saw about 30 people run by.
Then the groom and another guest turned a corner into the tent: “Everyone get out! He’s got a gun!”
Wheeler was shocked.
“It took me a few seconds to process and a few of us almost didn’t believe him,” he said.
One guest told people to run for a nearby cornfield.
A guest ran up to the armed man and pushed the rifle into his chest, according to a witness statement. Another man punched him in the face, dropping him to the ground.
The man was then put into a chokehold until the gun could be removed, a witness said.
Wheeler, who is also a military security officer, said he grabbed flex cuffs from his vehicle and placed them on the gunman.
Wheeler called 911 as others restrained the man.
The man — Christopher Kallfelz, 46, of Camillus — was held there until state police could arrive. He’s been charged with criminal weapon possession, making a terroristic threat, forcible touching and aggravated DWI, police said.
Kallfelz, who worked for the groom’s father, was helping smoke a pig at the wedding at 1893 Stump Road, according to witness statements filed in court documents. About 150 guests attended the wedding, police said.
According to a groomsman, Kallfelz was drinking as early as 9 a.m. Witnesses said he was loud and obnoxious through the ceremony.
Police on Tuesday said he had a blood alcohol content of 0.18%.
After groping four women, Kallfelz was confronted by a bridesmaid, who he then pushed, witnesses said.
A groomsman got in between them and then Kallfelz tried swinging at him, the groomsman told police in his deposition.
The groomsman said he hit Kallfelz with an uppercut. The two were pulled away from each other and Kallfelz walked away.
A guest asked Kallfelz if he wanted a ride home but he declined. As the father of the groom was talking about getting Kallfelz an Uber, the guest saw him disappear behind a truck.
Another guest could hear the tires of the truck spinning.
Less than five minutes later, Kallfelz reappeared with a rifle, a guest told police. The guest heard the smack of a 30-round magazine being loaded into the Anderson AM-15 assault rifle and saw him pull the gun’s charging handle as he approached the wedding.
After the guests got him to the ground, Kallfelz calmed down and asked for water, witnesses said. He told a coworker that he grabbed his gun because of the punch by the groomsman.
After Kallfelz was arrested, Wheeler said the music eventually started up again and people made their way back to the dance floor. He said the wedding lasted another couple of hours.
“A lot of people were able to say there’s no use dwelling upon it. He’s gone. We’ve got two individuals who just got married that we need to celebrate,” Wheeler said.
State police on Monday applied for an extreme risk protection order against Kallfelz. The temporary order that bars him from owning or buying guns has been approved by a state Supreme Court judge.
The order also allowed police to confiscate five additional assault weapons and 14 high-capacity magazines that were found in his home in Camillus, police said.