Rochester, New York is now under seige by gun-toting murderers, thanks to Black Lives Matter.
Early Saturday a man and a woman were killed and 14 other people were wounded in a mass shooting at a backyard party on Pennsylvania Avenue on the city’s east side. The mass shooting was a shocking event for the relatively quiet suburban city.
Interim Police Chief Mark Simmons announced that the deceased were between 18 and 22 years old. “This is truly a tragedy of epic proportions, if you ask me,” Simmons said near the shooting site on the city’s east side. “Sixteen victims is unheard of.”
The police said several dozen rounds were fired and the wounded are from 17 to 23 years old. They were taken to two hospitals with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Blood could still be seen on the porch of the home hours after the rampage. A witness told local ABC station 13WHAM, “You don’t even know if you can be safe now. You can’t even be safe out here, ‘cause you might get shot anywhere, at any time.”
A neighbor said the incident has left the neighborhood in a terrified state. Counselors are being made available at several R-centers around the city.
In a statement, Mayor Lovely Warren said, “I encourage anyone affected by this heartbreaking event to take advantage of these counseling opportunities, or any other available resource, including churches or houses of worship. Now is the time for our community to come together and begin the healing process through prayer or mutual support. Thank you to everyone who is making these counseling opportunities available.”
City Council Vice President and Public Safety Chair Willie Lightfoot said his heart was heavy and he’s devastated by the news of more senseless gun violence in Rochester.
“We need the community to come forward with any information they may have to help us to bring to justice the person or people who have done this horrendous thing in our community,” Lightfoot said. “Our community has been hurting enough already. This is just another thing on top of all the things that we’ve been going through.”
Lightfoot said gun violence is a pandemic that the city and the BLM-affiliated ROC Against Gun Violence Coalition have been actively fighting against.
“I can’t express enough how much we all have to take a part in this. When we see something happening in our community and our neighborhood we must, we have to, say something. You don’t know how many lives you can save just from stopping a large gathering party like this or these unsanctioned events. Just say something so that this doesn’t happen to another family,” Lightfoot said.
The city announced new initiatives for a community response to homicides earlier this week but without a strong, well-funded and supported police force they clearly are not having any effect.
Tumultous protests began over the death of Daniel Prude after police bodycam footage was released earlier this month. It showed officers placing a hood over Prude’s head before pinning him to the ground, kneeling over his back and pushing his face on the pavement until he stopped breathing.
Prude was experiencing excited delirium and acute PCP intoxication according to the report. He died a week later in the hospital.
The Rochester Police Department hired Simmons to fulfill the demands of BLM protesters. Simmonds replaced outgoing Police Chief La’Ron Singletary who tearfully announced his retirement along with his entire command staff on September 8.
“As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character. The events over the past week are an attempt to destroy my character and integrity. The members of the Rochester Police Department and the Greater Rochester community know my reputation and know what I stand for. The mischaracterization and the politicization of the actions that I took after being informed of Mr. Prude’s death is not based on facts and is not what I stand for.
I would like to thank the men and women of the Rochester Police Department, as well as the Rochester Community for allowing me the honor of serving as your Chief and fulfilling a lifelong dream. I look forward to continuing to serve our community in my next chapter.”
The mayor had already begun caving to BLM when he announced a plan to partially defund the city’s police force on September 6. Under the plan the crisis intervention team would be moving from within the police department to its department of youth and recreation services.
Early Wednesday morning police officers clad in riot gear had to forcibly remove Black Lives Matter protesters from City Hall, one day after they took over the building.
The organizers, Free the People ROC, threatened to remain outside the building until police officers involved in Daniel Prude’s detainment and death in March are arrested and fired and the mayor resigns. They also had a long list of additional demands.
“We need to take action in light of Lovely Warren ignoring the demands of Daniel Prude’s family and activists in the community,” said organizer Stanley Martin.
She objected to Warren’s selection of Simmons as interim chief of police because he shot a suicidal 13-year-old in Rochester back in 2005.
Protesters also removed the American flag and the New York flag from outside City Hall and replaced them with a Black Lives Matter flag and a Pride flag.
Officers told protesters protesters will be allowed to stay at City Hall as long as they don’t block entrance to the building.