News and Commentary

‘A Tragedy Of Epic Proportion’: 2 Dead, 14 Wounded In Rochester Mass Shooting
Rochester Shooting
Joshua Rashaad McFadden/Getty Images

At least two young people are dead and 14 wounded in a mass shooting that took place early Saturday at a party in Rochester, New York, an upstate city that has been in turmoil since footage emerged this month of a police encounter with Daniel Prude in March.

According to the Democrat & Chronicle, police were called around 12:25 a.m. to what one bystander called “a very chaotic scene” in the backyard of a residence in the Marketview Heights neighborhood. Shots rang out at the party where about 100 people were in attendance, and both of the victims were in their teens or early 20s.

Jasmin Lopez and John Santiago, who live a block away from where the shooting occurred, were awakened by gunshots and later found two teenagers hiding in their driveway. “You could see the fear in his eyes,” Santiago said. “He was scared.” The teens later drove away.

“There were kids throwing up, hiding between bushes, bleeding,” Lopez further described the scene. She also alleged that her first two calls to 911 were not answered.

“This is truly a tragedy of epic proportion,” Acting Police Chief Mark Simmons said at an early-morning news conference. “Sixteen victims is unheard of, and for our community, who’s right now going through so much, to have to be dealt with this tragedy, needlessly, for people who decide to act in a violent manner is unfortunate and shameful, and we’re going to do everything that we can as a department to bring those people involved to justice.”

“This is yet another tragedy where individuals are having these illegal and unsanctioned house parties taking place in these properties,” Simmons said. Such gatherings are bad enough because of COVID-19, he said, but when “you add in alcohol and violence … it just becomes a recipe for disaster.”

“This is not a moment for self-reflection,” he continued. “This is a moment that I’m asking the community to pray for the victims and their families. A lot of people are hurting right now. A lot of people are seeking answers. And the police department are going to do what we can to help bring some comfort and solve this crime for the families.”

Rochester’s Democrat Mayor Lovely Warren issued a statement on Saturday morning, which read:

I’ve been briefed by Acting Police Chief Simmons on the shooting event which occurred on Pennsylvania Avenue in the City of Rochester. Our Pathways to Peace Team is on the ground and working with the victims and their families. I’m asking the community for prayers and support for all involved.

This tragic act of violence has impacted many people’s lives and families. I’m begging everyone to remain calm and exercise deep restraint as RPD investigates what happened here and seeks those responsible. As soon as additional information is available, the police department will provide updates on this matter. Please keep our city in your continual prayers.

Rochester has been roiled with protests since police bodycam footage emerged earlier this month showing police pinning Daniel Prude to the ground and placing a spit hood over his head in March. The entire Rochester Police Department command staff, including former Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, resigned days after the footage became public.

Related: ‘Evil Is Real’: North Carolina Police Officer Pens Heartfelt Resignation Letter To Community Amid ‘Unprecedented’ Exodus From Force

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