ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester police officials say two people were killed and 14 more were injured in one of the worst mass shootings in the city’s history; a city which has been roiled in recent weeks by outrage over the suffocation death of Daniel Prude.
Jaquayla Young and Jarvis Alexander, both 19 years old, were killed. Rochester Police Captain Frank Umbrino said he does not believe they were the intended target and neither of them were residents of the home where the shooting occurred.
Young was a 2019 graduate of East High School and Alexander, a 2019 of University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men in Rochester.
“I just hope in a month from now, everybody remembers their names,” Umbrino said.
“We have two innocent victims that were attending a party with a few friends and unfortunately they lost their lives as a result because three or four individuals decided to bring handguns and pull them out and shoot at a crowd of 100 to 200 people.”
In addition to 16 people that were shot, two others suffered injuries as a result of being trampled.
As many as 200 people were at the gathering when the shooting started just before 12:30 a.m., Acting Police Chief Mark Simmons told reporters. It happened near the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue on the City of Rochester’s northeast side, close to North Goodman Street.
“As far as the investigation thus far, what I can tell you is that there was an invite only house party that was occurring at the resident of Pennsylvania Avenue where the shooting occurred. This was not supposed to be a large gathering there was a limited number of people that were invited.” Umbrino said.
According to Umbrino, there were other parties happening that night, and people from those parties “infiltrated” the home on Pennsylvania Avenue and when an altercation occurred, it escalated into gunfire.
“This is truly a tragedy if you ask me, 16 victims is unheard of,” Simmons said.
The other 14 people — all between the ages of 17 to 23 — were all hospitalized; nine at Strong Memorial Hospital, and five at Rochester General Hospital for their injuries. Officials say the injuries sustained are not life threatening. The interim police chief said no officers were injured.
An update from Strong Hospital officials at 12:38 p.m. Saturday said in part:
“Ten people with gunshot wounds were evaluated at Strong Memorial Hospital overnight, nine of whom we believe were victims from that shooting. None of those injuries appear to be life-threatening.
- Two of the patients have been admitted to Golisano Children’s Hospital, one in the pediatric ICU and one in stable condition
- Three adult patients have been admitted to Strong and are in stable condition
- Five patients have been treated and released”
At this time, there have been no arrests or no indication of motive.
“The event that was taking place in the 200 block appears to be some type of backyard party that the police department — up until the point where the 911 calls came in of shots fired — was not aware of, ” Simmons said.
“This is yet another tragedy where individuals are having these illegal, unsanctioned house parties taking place in these properties, which — number one — is not safe because of COVID, because of the conditions,” Simmons said. “And then you add in alcohol and violence and it just becomes a recipe for disaster.”
“So you would think that someone sees something prior to this concern,” Simmons said. “So we ask the community, when you see this please pick up the phone and call 911.”
“We spoke to many of those people the cooperation thus far has been commendable but in order to bring this case to a successful resolution where we can hold people responsible, we do need the community to come forward.”
RPD press conference
“It’s an extremely difficult scene to process,” Simmons said. “We have evidence scattered at multiple locations, victims arriving at different hospitals and just trying to identify and interview citizens, but the police department has all hands on deck.”
It isn’t clear what type or the number of weapons was used.
“Additionally, we will not comment yet as to the number and type of weapon(s) used, or the motive, but we will say several dozen rounds were fired,” police officials said in a statement.
Pastor at Seneca United Methodist Church Dr. Marlowe Washington said when he heard what happened, he had to come and pray. He also said there needs to be accountability.
“Whoever was the host of this party needs to be held accountable for this,” Washington said.
In July, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren issued an emergency order, banning all large gatherings in en effort to end gun violence. The order — which prohibits all public gatherings of five or more people between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. — is still in effect.
Mayor Warren released the following statement on the shooting:
“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.“
Simmons said multiple agencies and officers are still on scene investigating, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses. Anybody with information regarding the shooting, or has video or photographs from the party is asked to email them to MajorCrimes@cityofrochester.gov and call 911.
All of this comes amid protests we’ve seen for more than two weeks here in Rochester in the name of Daniel Prude, who died after an encounter with Rochester police in March. This particularly incident happens not long after the retirement of former Police Chief La’Ron Singletary.
Simmons was asked about his thoughts as approaching this situation as interim chief, and he said he doesn’t have time to reflect on that right now.
“This is not a moment for self reflection, this is a moment I’m asking the community to pray for the victims and the families. A lot of people are hurting right now a lot of people are looking for answers and the police department are going to do what we can to help bring some comfort and solve this crime.”
This is the worst mass shooting in the city’s history and it comes near the five year anniversary of another. On Aug. 15, 2015, a gunman open fired on Genesee Street outside the Boys and Girls Club, killing three young men. One month ago, the community gathered to remember Raekwan Manigault, Johnny Johnson and Jonah Barley.
Rev. Lewis Stewart held a press conference Saturday, saying gun violence is too prevalent not just nationally, but locally, in the wake of the mass shooting.
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley released this statement on Saturday’s mass shooting:
“Last night’s violence was a devastating tragedy, especially for a city that is already hurting. I trust that the Rochester Police Department will work tirelessly to investigate this shooting and identify those responsible for this violence against our community. I offer sympathies and support to all of the victims and their families whose lives are forever changed.”
Rochester City Council Vice-President, and Public Safety Chair Willie Lightfoot released a statement Saturday morning:
“My heart is heavy this morning, I am devastated by the news of more senseless gun violence happening in our City. Two precious lives were lost, 14 people were wounded, and countless numbers have been traumatized. I join our community as we grieve alongside the victims and families of those who have been killed or wounded. Gun violence is a pandemic that the City and the ROC Against Gun Violence Coalition have been actively fighting against. This week the City announced new initiatives for a community response to homicides; now, tragically, the same week we made that announcement, we must mobilize to respond to one of the largest acts of gun violence our City has ever seen. I am grateful for the immediate response of Pathways to Peace and other community partners who are working to stabilize the neighborhood. I join the Mayor in begging this community remain calm and exercise restraint, and I ask if anyone has information that could be helpful please share it with the authorities. Pray for our City and for those impacted by this tragedy.“
A statement came in from Assemblyman Harry Bronson’s office Saturday morning:
“This is a heart-breaking tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and to their family and friends in the hope that they might find some comfort. Our community must walk with them as they mourn, as they hurt and as they heal. Their journey is our journey. This needless and senseless act of violence angers me and is yet another example of the work that is undone. Too many in our community have fallen victim to the hopelessness and helplessness that is present in our society and throughout our City. The level of despair is unforgiving. Our young people are our future and we need to ensure that they know we are working with and for them to ensure they have opportunity, they have promise, they have a future. We must work so our young people can dream of that future for there is no future based on violence and there is no hope at the end of a gun. This community is strong enough to embrace meaningful change and we must work for that change for our future and our young people.”
This is a developing story. News 8 WROC will provide details as they become available.