ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monday night, three young people were shot during a “celebration of life” in Upper Falls, for a teen who lost his life to gun violence this past summer.
Following the tragic incident, the Rochester Police Department (RPD) and Mayor Malik Evans held a press conference Tuesday morning to explain the incident.
Monday night at around 6:20 p.m. officers responded to the 100 block of William Warfield Drive for the reports of shots fired. Initial communications said that an “altercation” they said an altercation had occurred resulting in the shooting.
Police later learned that the three victims gathered with members of the community in the area to celebrate the life of Jeremiah Baker — a 17-year-old who was shot and killed on William Warfield Drive in July.
Officers said Monday night that a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl were each shot in the lower body, and a 20-year-old man was shot at least once in the upper body. Mayor Evans confirmed that one of the victims is affiliated in some capacity with the City of Rochester.
All three were transported to Rochester General Hospital via private vehicles (as opposed to ambulance). They were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
At the press conference, Mayor Evans reached out to the community, arguing the importance of coming forward. He asked the community to continue speaking out about shootings.
“We have to continue to send a message that we aren’t going to tolerate this. We have to send the message that people who come forward will be protected,” Mayor Evans said. “We have to send another message that we cannot stop speaking out even when the violence that’s perpetrated is non-life-threatening.”
Evans did not mince words when it came to the shooter (or shooters).
“Last night, a coward — and that’s what that person is, an absolute coward — decided to shoot into a crowd and in that crowd, they hit innocent victims. And this hits us close to home because we know one of those victims is a member of our family, City Hall,” he said.
Law enforcement officials reiterated his message. They added that for those planning on celebrating the life of a homicide victim, officials asked celebrators to notify RPD and the Mayor’s Office, so they can make their presence known.
The investigation is ongoing, police said, and anyone with information is asked to call 911.
“Somebody knows who that person is, because people don’t do that [shooting] quietly,” Lt. Greg Bello added. “We need those people to come forward and say that these monsters can’t exist in our community. They need to be held accountable because people need to be able to mourn safely — especially kids at a balloon release in the middle of a prayer.”
Full press conference
Check back with News 8 WROC as we continue to update this developing story.