ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A person is dead and three others hospitalized following an overnight shooting on North Clinton Avenue at the recreation center near Upper Falls Boulevard Tuesday.
Police say Willie Wofford, 24, was shot and killed. Two men and one woman sustained non-life-threatening injuries. All victims were city residents, investigators say.
According to investigators, officers were called to the recreation center yard on Baden Street around 2:40 a.m. They found around 300 people at the Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center for what police called a “non-sanctioned party.”
Police say a fight near the basketball court at the recreation escalated, leading to gunfire. That fight was still happening when officers got to the scene.
“More than 300 people attended an illegal, unsanctioned event and remained in a high state of agitation even after the officers arrived to help,” Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. “In fact, some sought to further inflame the crowd and turn the violence against the officers themselves.”
Officers were able to find Wofford, but police said an ambulance had a difficult time navigating through the sea of bystanders and party-goers.
Wofford was rushed to a nearby hospital in the back seat of a patrol car where officers attempted life-saving measures. Those efforts were ultimately unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead shortly after.
Three other victims were transported to Strong Hospital in private vehicles.
An investigation is currently underway. Authorities have blocked off access to parts of North Clinton Avenue pending this homicide investigation.
There is no one in custody at this time. Major Crime Unit officials are asking partygoers to share any videos or information with police.
Mayor Evans said he instructed the Rochester Police Department to crack down on illegal gatherings, “to prevent future events of this nature.”
Anyone who knows of such a gathering is asked to call 911.
“The life you save could be your own or that of someone you love,” he said.
Statement from Rochester Mayor Malik Evans
I am deeply saddened but not surprised that the wave of unusually high levels of violence that swept the nation this weekend also swept through Rochester. From Friday, July 1 through Monday, July 4, there were 11 people shot on Rochester streets, including three who died from their injuries.
Once again my heart is broken for the victims, families and friends impacted by these tragic and senseless acts; and once again I am grateful to the men and women of the Rochester Police Department and our partners in law enforcement for their fast and incredibly courageous responses, which prevented further loss of life and injury.
I especially want to commend the officers on-scene at this morning’s shooting at Clinton-Baden Park, where more than 300 people attended an illegal, unsanctioned event and remained in a high state of agitation even after the officers arrived to help. In fact, some sought to further inflame the crowd and turn the violence against the officers themselves.
I have instructed the Rochester Police Department to step up its enforcement of illegal gatherings to prevent future events of this nature. I ask anyone who learns about the plans for an unsanctioned event through their own social networks to call 911 and tell us what you know. The life you save could be your own or that of someone you love.
Members of the City’s Pathways to Peace street outreach teams are also focusing their activities in this area to provide targeted community support. I urge anyone who was at this event, along with their friends and family members, to seek peaceful resolutions to any disputes that may be lingering in the aftermath of this violence. We must not perpetuate violence with more violence and bring continued tragedy to our children and families.
Once again, I want to extend my gratitude to our partner law enforcement agencies, including the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police, for their ongoing commitment to providing additional resources to help us bring an end to the pandemic-related, unprecedented levels of violent crime.
Finally, I want to extend my prayers, condolences and support to my fellow mayors and their citizens and police officers in the other cities who are dealing with their own horrific and tragic acts of weekend violence with the added element of hate, especially those in Highland Park, Ill and Philadelphia, Pa.
The common denominator on all of these incidents, whether pre-meditated or circumstantial, is illegal guns. I will continue to include my voice among the mayors and urban leaders calling for common-sense solutions to these very predictable challenges.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.