ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester is now at 79 homicides for 2021. Two shootings occurred this past weekend alone, and one of those left a man in his 20s dead. On Monday, NEWS10’s local sister station checked in with the head of the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force that tracks down violent offenders.
Charles Salina is head of the task force in Western New York. He said crime may be increasing, but so is their staffing. Over the past year, the team has bulked up to its largest size in history, all to meet the intense demands of 2021.
Salina said that this week, another crew of New York State Troopers and Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies will be sworn in. “The investigative agency, whether RPD or MCSO, will do an investigation, and if they identify a suspect, then that’s when the task force comes in,” he said. “The task force members are going to have another successful week.”
Salina said the team has been going through list after list of offenders like never before. The team started working on a new list of 35 suspects last week and has already made eight arrests. Multiple cases in the past month even led them out of state. One homicide led to Ohio, and another to a stabbing all the way to Texas.
“That message is very strong if you commit a crime here, even if you flee to another state or out of country, we will be able to apprehend you,” said Salina.
While progress is made every day, Salina said there are a few concerns keeping him up at night. “The younger suspects is what’s concerning to me,” he said. “We’re arresting 16-, 17-, 18-year-old kids.” He said members of the task force say any information or tips from the public are also crucial in these investigations.
Another major concern is how many suspects are armed on arrival. “Back 10 years ago, we would find them, and rarely we would find someone armed with a gun,” Salinas said. “On that other last list, we had—15 or 16 of 38 suspects were armed with a gun at the time of arrest.”
Overall, Salina has confidence looking at the list and hopes long hours will pay off. “Shootings are still occurring, but we are apprehending the ones responsible. Above 95%,” said Salina. “I have great confidence in the task force members.”