RPD Chief on weekend violence: ‘Families, communities are being destroyed’

Crime

Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary held a press conference Monday after a violent holiday weekend that had 13 shooting victims from 10 different incidents.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – It was a busy 4th of July weekend for Rochester police.

Police officials say from 10:40 p.m. Friday until 4 p.m. Sunday, 13 people were shot in 10 separate incidents. As a result of these shootings, five people have been arrested (full timeline of events below). At this time, there have been no reported fatalities as a result of any of the holiday weekend shootings in Rochester.

Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary held a press conference Monday to publicly address the surge of shootings in the city.

“Families are being destroyed, communities are being destroyed, and individuals feel emboldened,” Chief Singletary said. “We are seeing people pick up a firearm, point it at a crowd and pull the trigger right in front of the police.”

The police chief says incidents like this past weekend can escalate quickly, putting people in danger.

“These are situations that can go from 0 to 60 just like that,” Chief Singletary said. “Law enforcement cannot do this work alone. What stands between lawlessness and legitimacy in our community is Rochester police officers. Those officers and the citizens who say enough is enough.

The police chief condemned a weekend incident where an officer was attacked.

“It will never be okay to put your hand on a police officer or to threaten a police officer,” Chief Singletary said. “I will stand up here every time and say I’m about accountability. I hold my officers accountable and I expect people of the community to hold themselves accountable. The officer was punched in the back of the head and there were several individuals in this group who came down and tried to prevent the officer from doing their jobs.”

Chief Singletary said new bail reform laws, which prevents jailing for certain offenses, could be contributing to individuals being emboldened to break the law.

“People know that we do not take people to jail any more for certain offenses,” Chief Singletary said. “And we talk about maintaining some sort of quality of life in the neighborhoods. It makes it tough to enforce for the quality of life issues because residence have to deal with those issues in those neighborhoods. It is having an effect on us to be able to police these neighborhoods for the individuals in the neighborhoods who was to live law abidingly.”

The police chief said the events that transpired this past weekend illustrate the need for police.

“Now is not the time to talk about defunding the police,” Chief Singletary said. “The communities that are going to suffer the most are black and brown communities as evidenced from this weekend. Some of the reason why we got here to this point is because of other systems that are broken and things are being placed into the lap of law enforcement.

“I get the calls for change, I’m OK sitting down at the table, talking about reform, I’m all about that,” Chief Singletary said. “We don’t have the issues. We have about 350,000 calls for service per year that officers handle. Those are documented calls. Let’s give our officers some credit for what they do when it comes to addressing some of the violent incidents in our city, so that’s where the frustration lies.”

Chief Singletary said this weekend’s incidents is similar to spikes in violence throughout the nation, including in Chicago where 13 people were shot this past weekend, including the fatal shootings of a 7-year-old girl at a family party and a teenage boy.

“The violence that were seeing is not unique to Rochester, we’re seeing this in many urban communities across the county,” Chief Singletary said.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren released a statement Monday regarding the weekend violence:

“The only way violence ends is when people have hope and a path to a better future. Thousands of people continue to raise their voices and lift Rochester up by addressing the inequities and racism throughout our community and our nation. My mentor David Gantt spent his life and career sacrificing for those who needed a hand-up. Now, our RASE commission will amplify and continue these efforts. This weekend’s violence shows that this work is more crucial than ever.

We must instill the belief that life is sacred and everyone should believe in their own potential more than power of a gun. We must also demand that each of us act with dignity and respect for ourselves and our neighbors. I am thankful for the continued work of our police department to take guns off of our streets and to bring those who commit violence to justice. I am also grateful that the officer who was injured this weekend is recovering well.

Sadly, what Rochester is experiencing is not unique among cities throughout our country. The combination of the pandemic, our economic struggles and anger over injustice has caused violence across our nation. Now, it is on all of us to respond not in fear, but with hope. I encourage everyone to reach out to their neighbors, show strength through kindness and commit ourselves to building Rochester up by doing the right thing.”

The timeline of events, according to Rochester police:

July 3rd at 10:40 a.m., a 37-year-old male, city resident, was shot in the 200 block of Saratoga Avenue. The victim suffered a serious but non-fatal wound to his lower body.

July 4, at 9:05 a.m., a 22-year-old male, city resident, was shot in the 300 block of Conkey Avenue. The victim suffered a non-fatal wound to his lower body.

July 4, at 10:44 p.m., a 33-year-old male, Irondequoit resident, was shot in the 300 block of Bernard Street. The victim suffered a serious but non-fatal wound to his lower body.

July 4, at 11:17 p.m., a 19-year-old male, city resident, and a 30-year-old male, city resident, was shot in the 400 block of Jefferson Avenue. Both victims suffered non-fatal injuries to the upper body.

July 5, at 12:37 a.m., a 17-year-old male, 20-year-old male, and 33-year-old female, all city residents, were shot in the 400 block of Chili Avenue. The victims suffered serious but non-fatal wounds to the torso and upper body.

A Genesee Section Officer heard the gunfire and saw a male firing a gun in the direction of the victims. The officer chased the male and safely arrested him and recovered a handgun.

  • Investigators charged Shallah Sherman, age 34, a city resident, with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the second degree, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the third degree, Reckless Endangerment in the first degree, and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the fourth degree.

During this shootout, Sherman was not the only person firing a handgun. The investigation continues, and additional charges are likely against Sherman and other males involved in this incident. During the preliminary investigation, another firearm was recovered at the scene.

July 5, at 12:48 a.m., an 18-year-old female, city resident, was shot in the 1300 block of North Clinton Avenue. The victim suffered a serious but non-fatal injury to the upper body.

July 5, at 1:00 a.m., a 29-year-old male, city resident, was shot in the 54 block of Rugby Avenue. The victim suffered a serious injury to the upper body that is potentially life-threatening.

July 5, at 2:09 a.m., a 16-year-old male, city resident, was shot in the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. The victim suffered a non-fatal injury to the face.

As officers were investigating this shooting and trying to render aid to the victim, they were approached by a group of approximately 25 people, unrelated to the shooting. The group began to swear and yell at officers and interfered with an officer who attempted to secure someone. Two members of the group grabbed an officer’s arms, and one of them punched an officer in the head. Another officer was injured as he attempted to assist the first officer.

Officers arrested the following individuals:

  • Bartholomew R. Murdock, age 30, a city resident, charged with Assault in the second degree to a Police Officer and Obstruction of Governmental Administration in the second degree (taken to booking).
  • Alyssa L. Sadwick, age 28, a city resident, charged with Obstruction of Governmental Administration in the second degree, Resisting Arrest, and Disorderly Conduct (issued an appearance ticket).
  • Christian Nelson, age 29, a city resident, charged with Obstruction of Governmental Administration in the second degree and Resisting Arrest (issued an appearance ticket).
  • Joel Dow, age 36, a Brighton resident, charged with Obstruction of Governmental Administration in the second degree, Resisting Arrest, and Disorderly Conduct (issued an appearance ticket).

July 5, at 4:37 a.m., a 27-year-old male, city resident, was shot in the 100 block of Lyell Avenue. The victim suffered non-fatal injuries to the lower body.

July 5, at 3:58 p.m., a 23-year-old male, city resident, was shot in the 400 block of Alphonse Street. The victim suffered a non-fatal injury to the upper body.

All of these shootings are currently under investigation with Patrol Section Investigations.
Anyone with information on any of these shootings is urged to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 423-9300.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

Full press conference:

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