ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Thursday, September 1, 2022. News 8 wishes you and your family a happy new month.

RPD: Rochester teen found dead after falling into High Falls gorge

A 19-year-old city resident was found dead after first responders say a “tragic accident” caused him to fall down into the High Falls gorge early Thursday morning.

According to police, officers arrived at St. Paul Street near Rochester’s Inner Loop following a 911 call about a male who fell into the gorge just after 2 a.m. and was unresponsive.

Authorities say the location was near High Falls. Responding officers arrived at the scene and found fencing north of the Inner Loop had been damaged to allow entry through it. On the other side of the fencing, there is an area that drops down a few hundred feet down into the gorge.

That was where the male was found with obvious injuries, according to officials. Rochester firefighters were able to extricate the local teenager who was pronounced dead on the scene.

Police do not believe foul play was involved in this incident.

New concealed carry law go into effect in New York Thursday

On Thursday, New York’s new concealed carry law goes into effect.

If you already have your concealed carry permit and it was issued outside of New York City, Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties you do not have to take a firearm safety training course.

But you will if you’re a new applicant.

Under this new law, an applicant must:

  • Complete a 16-hour classroom and 2-hour live firearm safety training course
  • Have four character references
  • Provide a list of all social media accounts for the last three years
  • Disclose your partner or spouse as well as any other adults, and adult children in your home
  • Have an in-person interview

“We’ll be the first state to require training for firearm permits, but it makes sense,” stated Governor Kathy Hochul. “Under the old law, some counties required it but many did not. It’s time to standardize this across the State of New York.”

Once you get your permit, there are places you will not be able to carry your gun.

“These sensitive locations include schools, colleges, daycares, libraries, restaurants that serve alcohol,” said Hochul.

Park playgrounds, entertainment venues, and Time Square are also included in that list. If you’re caught carrying in these locations, you could be charged with a felony.

Those with concealed carry permits will have to submit recertification to the New York State Police every three years.

‘Let it burn:’ Geneva councilman clarifies comments made to fire chief

Last Wednesday at a Geneva City Council budget meeting, the Geneva Fire Department asked for more funding, in particular for gear. One councilman then replied in the event of a fire just, “let it burn then.”

That comment caused the community to demand clarification.

“Well, let it burn then, don’t go into it,” was the full reaction of Geneva City Councilman Ken Camera to Fire Chief Del Parrotta. Parrotta told the body that their gear is below standards, and morale in the ranks is low. More funding is needed. 

“We have an obligation to actually go into the burning building sometimes, and we weigh that risk and reward,” said Chief Parrotta to News 8 on Wednesday.

Parrotta says their budget is around $2.3 million dollars, most of that is for salary for the 20 career staff. The rest are volunteers, about 100 people. 

“We have a very limited amount that goes towards gear and training,” he said.

National standards require that every 10 years, gear like firesuits get replaced. “We just don’t want to put our firefighters in an unsafe situation. Those standards are made by experts and scientists in the field,” he says.

Councilman Camera agrees with the chief. He said that if new suits aren’t brought in — a concern — that’s what they might have to do. He clarified further. 

“If there’s no one in the building, you may have to just hose it down, and not go into the fire,” said Camera to News 8.

He said he, and his colleagues on the council, do not expect firefighters to enter a blaze with unsafe gear.

Camera said he was just asking questions about budget lines, and asking for more detail. That’s it. “I don’t want to disrespect firemen. I think they’re brave people and they’re doing a public service the same way that we are,” he said.

Chief Parrotta says they are always looking for volunteers. If you’re interested reach out to the Geneva Fire Department at 315-828-6595.

Confusion over re-opening of House of Mercy homeless shelter

It’s been three weeks since a fatal stabbing attack at the House of Mercy homeless shelter. But plans to reopen are still not clear.

The former director and founder of the shelter, Sister Grace Miller confirmed Wednesday morning that a reopening date was slated for Thursday. But a few hours later — that seems to have changed.

According to sources with the House of Mercy, the shelter is not opening this week, after all.

Legislator Mercedes Vazquez Simmons said a good word for this situation is “confusion.”

“I’m not aware of what’s happening behind the scenes, just like the media, I’m very much kept in the dark as far as what their decision is,” Simmons said. “It’s important we inform the community what’s happening with the House of Mercy, I don’t know if that communication exists with the House of Mercy and the residents.”

News 8 has left multiple inquiries with shelter administration but has not heard back. The executive director had “no comment” to share.

In the meantime, Vazquez Simmons is concerned for the residents she oversees in the Northeast Quadrant — many of whom call House of Mercy home.

She said she’s also been supporting Sister Grace during this time, the former director who now holds the title of the spiritual director. The two have been advocating for a reopening as soon as possible.

“I’m hoping that it’s back to full capacity, that is my expectation that it’s the full capacity, I know individuals I’ve spoken to, they want to come back,” Vazquez Simmons said.

Amid all of the confusion, questions remain about the shelter. How did a resident enter with a machete, according to the police? Will safety measures change moving forward? Is there enough staffing?

Vazquez Simmons says the administration has been meeting with state officials in the past few weeks — but again — details are not clear.

“How do we inform our residents, what’s happening, what additional services are they going to provide? Because of what happened here, we can’t ignore what happened,” she said. 

Nathaniel Jeanpierre III is the resident who was taken into custody in connection to the fatal attack.

Attorneys representing one of the victims said they’re working to investigate if there was any negligence by the shelter.

Jeanpierre was indicted on charges of murder, attempted murder, and assault. The district attorney’s office says his case will rise to the Monroe County Court.

Smash and grab incident causes concern for North Winton neighborhood

Crime has riddled the streets of Rochester in the past few years and 2022 is no exception. The North Winton neighborhood is a tight-knit community. While they haven’t experienced as much crime as other city neighborhoods, they have certainly seen their fair share. 

An alarm system went off early Saturday morning waking the neighbors in the area of Winton and Blossom Road. That noise, which has become all too familiar, coming from the Tops across the street.

In a video obtained by News 8, a silver SUV is seen parked in front of the gas station as the alarm continues to go off. Later, two suspects can be seen coming out of the gas station before getting into the car and speeding off. Rochester police responded to the gas station a short time later to find the front window smashed in and several items stolen.

Dennis McCarthy is the Vice President of Mayer Hardware, a family-owned business on Winton Road in Rochester. McCarthy has worked and lived in the area for over 20 years and said crime in the area has only gotten worse over time.

“Over the last year or two years, it’s gotten more frequent and more brazen in the neighborhood,” McCarthy said.

Lieutenant Greg Bello with the Rochester Police Department confirmed there has been an increase in crime over the years. He explains while gun violence is the department’s top priority at the moment, other crime still goes on. However, to make a difference, Bello says it takes a village, not the work of a single agency.

“Whether it’s violent crime, whether it’s property crime, whatever it may be, it’s calling that crime,” Bello said. “And that negative impact on their neighborhoods, calling that unacceptable. The police department, we’re certainly there to work with people, and with neighborhoods and with communities to do that.”

As for the North Winton area, crime isn’t as much of a concern as other hot spots in the city of Rochester, and it has stayed relatively consistent over the years. 

However, McCarthy says regardless of the amount, a crime is still a crime, especially when it’s happening in your own backyard.

“It’s not good no matter where it is. Certainly, we don’t want it here but we don’t want it anywhere,” McCarthy said.

Rochester police is working with Tops to gather video evidence and they ask anyone in the area who also has video of this incident or any other incidents to contact them.

“We all have to be in this together to help stop not just a violent crime, but property crime as well,” Bello said.

If you have information to report to Rochester Police Department for any ongoing investigation, you can call 311.

Weather forecast: All the fall feels

Highs Thursday will struggle to do much better than 70 degrees under a northwest wind flow as skies trend sunny into the afternoon.