Tragedy: 14 wounded, two killed in overnight shooting in Rochester

by Colleen Farrell
Friday, September 18th 2020

Rochester, N.Y. ó Two people were killed and 14 were wounded early Saturday after gunfire erupted at a party on the city's east side.

The incident unfolded in the early morning hours in the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. Acting Rochester Police Chief Mark Simmons said a man and a woman between the ages of 18 and 22 were slain.

Police say the remaining 14 victims are between the ages of 17-23. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening.

"This is truly a tragedy of epic proportions if you ask me. I mean, 16 victims is unheard of," Simmons said. "For our community, who is right now going through so much, to have to be dealt [this] tragedy needlessly because of people who decide to act in a violent manner, is unfortunate, it's shameful, and we're going to do everything we can as a department to bring those people involved to justice."

Crime scene tape cordoned off several blocks in the residential neighborhood where officers were called for a shooting just before 12:30 a.m.

When they arrived, they found about 100 people outside. The scene was chaotic, Simmons said.

"We could see and observe multiple gunshot wound victims at that time," he said.

The victims were taken to Rochester General and Strong Memorial hospitals. It appears the injuries of those taken to the hospital are not life-threatening, Simmons said.
No one is in custody. Simmons said it was too early to say whether the violence was random or targeted. Police say they never received calls about the large gathering prior to the shooting.

Police said several dozen rounds were fired. A witness told 13WHAM News the gunfire sounded like "an all-out war zone."
"So many people going in so many directions, so many different ways, driving up and down the grass, trying to get out of here," said Billy, who did not want to give his last name.
"Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, for 10 minutes maybe," he continued. "People running from every which way. You donít know who's who; everyoneís got a mask on. You donít know what going on out here."

Until they were called for the shooting, no one had called to report the party, Simmons said.

The incident drew a large response from several agencies, including New York State Police, Monroe County Sheriff's Office, and Irondequoit Police.
"This is yet another tragedy where individuals are having these illegal, unsanctioned house parties taking place on these properties which, number one, is not safe because of COVID, because of the conditions, and then you add in alcohol and violence and it becomes a recipe for disaster," Simmons said.
This is one of the most violent mass shootings in Rochester's history. It was just over five years ago when three people were killed outside the Boys & Girls Club on Genesee Street. About six months later, one person died and seven others were hurt in a mass shooting at a nightclub in the area of State Street and Lyell Avenue.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren released a statement on the violence.
Iíve 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. Iím asking the community for prayers and support for all involved. This tragic act of violence has impacted many people's lives and families. Iím 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.
Roads have since begun reopening in the area. Police are ensuring neighbors the area is safe.
The scene is not far from Rochester's Public Market. It appears, for now, the market will be open as usual Saturday morning.
13WHAM has a crew at the scene and will provide updates as they become available.