ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Chaos. That’s how Matt Reis, the owner of Bathtub Billy’s, describes these ‘parking lot parties’, like the one early Monday morning that ended with one man shot and another woman covered in gasoline.
He says for six years they have been a nuisance.
“It’s a few cars at first, and they do doughnuts and they’re racing around and then it turns into about 100-150 cars,” Reis said.
On some evenings, he has to close his bar at 9 p.m. if the area becomes unsafe for customers. He says the large group goes to the same four lots in the area every night. They get chased out of one, then come back.
“You know what’s the deal, what are you guys doing? And they just go from parking lot to parking lot and are just looking to irritate the police,” Reis said.
That, and boredom he says is brought on by the pandemic. This is something Que Graham, who lives behind the plaza, agrees with.
“There’s nowhere to go, so people are trying to outlet their anger and frustration. But I honestly think they shouldn’t do that,” Graham said.
Keith Murray also lives behind the plaza. He says the area needs to be on the nightly radar of police.
“As soon as police are called, they should be right here,” Murray said.
Janice McFadden, who lost a son to gun violence, is asking those at these parties to stop before someone gets killed.
“It’s an awful thing to see your child in a casket, you know?” McFadden said.
Reis says the plaza owner has promised to do something to combat the gatherings including added security, police and putting up barricades — but has done nothing. It’s so bad, Reis has decided to move his business for the safety of the customers.
“Something’s got to be done to curtail this before somebody ends up dead,” Reis said.
The plaza owner had no comment.
Here’s what other business owners in the plaza had to say: