ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Wednesday, July 13, 2022.


Pedestrian killed, struck by vehicle near W. Ridge Rd. in Rochester

A male in his 40s is dead after being struck by a vehicle on the 200 block of West Ridge Road late Tuesday night.

Authorities say officers responded to the area around 10:38 p.m. for the report of a pedestrian struck by a car. Once at the location, they found a male in his 40s who was pronounced dead on scene.

Investigators say the driver behind the wheel of the striking vehicle remained on scene.

An investigation is currently underway to determine what caused the incident. Officials say West Ridge Road between Palm Street and Woodside Street will be closed off for the next two hours.

2 people shot in Rochester Tuesday night

Rochester police were called to two separate shootings minutes apart Tuesday.

According to investigators, police responded to a report of gunshots near Dewey Avenue at Glendale Avenue around 5 p.m. They found a 19-year-old man who had been shot at least one time. He was hospitalized with what investigators said were non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say a crowd gathered at the crime scene. More officers were called in for what police called “de-escalation of the group.”

Police were called to Lake Avenue near Glendale Park around 5:20 p.m. for reports of a second shooting. There they found an 18-year-old woman who investigators determined had been shot on Bleile Terrace. They say the victim drove away from the scene of the shooting and met officers on Lake Avenue.

She was also hospitalized and treated for what police called non-life-threatening injuries.

Anyone with information about either shooting is asked to call 911.

‘No reason to think it’s not here already’: Mendoza on new COVID variants

COVID subvariants BA-4 and BA-5 continue to emerge across New York State, at a time when immunity from initial vaccines or booster shots may be waning.

Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza says BA-5 doesn’t appear as severe as previous variants. However, the case for reinfection may be more likely, he says, given the fact that immunity may be wearing off.

“The reality is there’s no reason to think it’s not here already,” Dr. Mendoza said Tuesday. 

As subvariants BA-4 and BA-5 make up a little more than half of current COVID cases in New York, Dr. Mendoza says the variants aren’t as severe but may be more contagious.

When it comes to the possibility of reinfection, he says it’s not out of question.

“They seem to be happening more quickly. It is possible they may be more likely given that the immunity that we have is based on what we’ve been vaccinated against and/or what we’ve been infected with. If somebody hasn’t been infected with either of these subvariants, we think they’re going to be susceptible, again, because the initial vaccine may not be as preventative from these subvariants,” said Dr. Mendoza. 

Dr. Mendoza says he anticipates more people might get reinfected even if they were sick with COVID in the spring. 

Right now, the FDA is looking at the possibility of second booster shots from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson companies. 

“Is there any harm in getting those vaccines? No. Is there much benefit? We don’t know. There’s a lot of debate. A lot of studies right now looking whether an omicron-specific booster is necessary – and we think perhaps by the fall that may become a reality,” said Dr. Mendoza. 

Mendoza also stresses the importance of reporting at-home COVID tests to provide more accurate numbers county-wide. 

“The concern is we don’t know all of the testings that’s happening in the community because people aren’t recording them. We believe what we’re reporting is accurate because people are telling us. But, we just know that not everybody is telling us,” said Dr. Mendoza. 

Dr. Mendoza says it’s safe to assume the majority of new cases are likely the newer subvariants. He says updated numbers won’t populate for another few weeks.

As for the possibility of another mask mandate in Monroe County, Dr. Mendoza says he doesn’t feel one is necessary right now. 

He says the existing recommendations based on risk or comfort level will remain going forward.

Conor Dwyer Reynolds sues City of Rochester, PAB for alleged Open Meetings Law violations

The Rochester Police Accountability Board’s suspended executive director, Conor Dwyer Reynolds, filed a lawsuit against the City of Rochester Monday, claiming the board violated New York State’s Open Meetings Law multiple times leading up to his ouster.

“Board members have been operating in such secrecy that it has rendered their operations illegal,” Dwyer Reynolds wrote in a statement sent out Tuesday. “My suspension was the result of at least six Board meetings that were intentionally kept hidden from the public and the agency’s own employees.”

According to the court documents, which can be read in full below, the minutes for the May 12 meeting in which the PAB decided to place Dwyer Reynolds on administrative leave contain no mention of any vote to do so.

Dwyer Reynolds claims the board’s special committee has continued to meet behind closed doors, holding no public meetings since his suspension. He claims the PAB has also broken the law by going into executive session without adequately recording the reason why or any votes taken while behind closed doors.

“These violations were not minor, one-off mistakes,” Dwyer Reynolds wrote. “The select Board members who orchestrated these violations knew what they were doing, did it over and over, and did so in ways that had major ramifications for the PAB.”

Unique video gaming truck brings people together across Rochester

Video games are often played in the comfort of one’s basement, but what if you could enjoy your favorite game from nearly anywhere?

One Gates man has made that a reality, creating a video gaming truck that comes right to you.  

“1st Player Video Game Truck is a 24-foot, enclosed mobile trailer that I bring to your home,” said James Bunn, the Owner and Operator of the company.

“We have games ranging from Playstation, Xbox, Virtual Reality, Nintendo, Sega Genesis for my adult crowd, Switch, Super Nintendo… there are over 250 games that kids have total access to the whole library.”

From the outside, it’s a cool-looking trailer, but on the inside, it’s everything a gamer wants and more. The trailer walls are decked out with the most popular video game characters, there are glow-in-the-dark lights, and gaming controls that allow around 20 people to play at a time. 

Bunn said the idea for the truck first came to him in 2019 while he was hanging out with his son. 

“One day I was sitting down with my son and he says, ‘Dad, what if we can get paid playing video games?’ and I said, ‘Son, what if we can get paid letting other people play video games?’ Bunn said.

In the weeks following, Bunn did his homework. He contacted other gaming trucks across the U.S., learned about the ins and outs of the business, and then right before the pandemic, he purchased a trailer. 

“April of last year, we opened for business and here we are,” Bunn said.

Working with his wife and son, the family has now been to roughly 400 events. They attend birthday parties, graduations, rec-centers and community events, bringing joy to both children and adults. 

“It brings us together,” says Shemeka Bunn, James’ wife and co-owner of the company. “Just going through different ideas, and him (James) coming up with ideas, and us talking about it, and then just being together with other families also has changed our family.”

The company even has a laser tag option for those who want to play outside. Shemeka said it’s fun to see how excited the kids get.

“They see us and they’re almost home,” Shemeka said. “So it’s something to do, but they’re enjoying it and we’re enjoying it with them, so I think in a positive way it has affected the kids.” 

“They’re jumping around, they want to know what’s inside,” Bunn said. “They are knocking on the door, they walk in, it’s glowing, their favorite game is playing, they’re like ‘Oh my gosh,’ or I have new systems that they may not have had the chance to play and it’s just wonderful.” 

The truck is also climate-controlled, with both air conditioning and a heater, allowing it to be used year-round. Anywhere from 14 to 20 people can be inside at a time.

If you want to learn more about the video game truck, click here.

Weather forecast: A relief from the heat as temperatures run below normal

Our Wednesday will be a cooler day with highs in the upper 70s. That’ll be just enough to allow a few more showers to develop into the heating of the day.