ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Stay up to date on the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Wednesday, July 6, 2022.

Parolee arrested for firing into crowd at deadly Rochester rec center shooting

A parolee was identified and arrested as one of the suspects who fired a handgun into a crowd of people gathered at a recreation center in Rochester Tuesday.

Rochester police say 30-year-old Parolee Quinjavis Lewis was charged with criminal endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon in the second and third degree.

According to authorities, Lewis was one of the individuals who fired at a crowd of 300 people at the Trenton and Pamela Jackson R Center. A 24-year-old man was killed and three others were injured.

Investigators arrived at the recreation center yard on Baden Street around 2:40 a.m. Tuesday and said a fight near the basketball court at the recreation escalated, leading to gunfire.

Police identified Lewis and arrested him Tuesday evening after a criminal complaint alleged that he fired multiple gunshots from a handgun in the direction of four shooting victims, including the fatally wounded 24-year-old Willie Wofford.

The 30-year-old was paroled from prison in April 2020 for a criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree conviction. He was sentenced to six months in prison for pleading guilty to two separate charges of controlled possession while on parole and then arrested again in January 2021 for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.

Police say, for unknown reasons, his parole was not violated and he was released from custody.

Additional charges may be presented to a Monroe County Grand Jury. Lewis is set to be arraigned around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The Major Crimes Unit has yet to identify other suspects in this fatal shooting.

Gunfire hits occupied Rochester home near Durnan St.

An occupied home in the area of Durnan Street was struck by gunfire late night Tuesday.

Authorities say officers were led to the 300 block of Durnan Street around 10:30 p.m. for reports of gunshots into a house. They quickly determined that a home had been hit by gunfire in the immediate area.

According to investigators, the residence was occupied by three adults, a 4-year-old and a 3-year-old child at the time of the shooting. None of them were injured.

There are no suspects in custody at this time. Anyone with more information is asked to call 911.

Brockport man charged in Jan. 6 Capitol riot asks for shorter sentence

One of the local men involved in the January 6th attack on the US Capitol is asking the judge in the case for leniency in sentencing.

The attorney for James Mault of Brockport gave the judge three reasons his client should receive less prison time than agreed upon in the plea agreement.

James Mault pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of assaulting, resisting and impeding a federal officer.

This was for his role in the January 6th riot where he admitted to going through the barriers at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. and spraying a chemical agent at law enforcement.

A former local iron worker, Mault’s plea agreement came with a sentencing range of 37 to 46 months in prison but his attorney, Richard Stern, submitted court paperwork this week asking the judge to give him less than 37 months.

Mault has also agreed to pay $2,000 in restitution.

Stern said Mault was just an “average participant” in the riot adding the judge should consider “the stress from his harsh terms of confinement, the defendant’s multiple military terms and his resultant PTSD.”

Stern said Mault regrets his role in the attack citing a text two days after the attack where Mault wrote, “I can handle the future its just coping with the sh** I did.”

Mault’s wife wrote a letter to the judge saying Mault “really is an amazing man when you get to know him” adding their two young children “need their father in their lives.”

Mault pleaded guilty alongside Cody Mattice of Hilton.

They’re both due back in court for sentencing next Friday at 1 pm.

A third local man tied up in all this is Dominic Pezzola, who is now facing one of the most serious charges of Seditious Conspiracy.

He will not be part of the sentencing hearing later this month.

Local group aims to get more men involved with mental health, suicide prevention

A few years ago Jeff Hoffman’s mental health was at the end of the line. He was going through a divorce, drinking, and fighting off thoughts of suicide. He says as a man, he felt it hard to express his feelings. 

“Men generally aren’t very good at opening up and connecting. And there was a point in my life where I felt invisible,” he says.

Hoffman said he wanted to start a place for men to open up and be able to share thoughts with one another. 

“I knew that if I could make it through this, there were many other guys that were experiencing the same thing,” says Hoffman.

Hoffman started “Visible Man” — a way to help prevent male suicide, provide education, and help to those in crisis. He says men face barriers to self-expression and sharing thoughts. 

“I think it’s a combination of how we’re raised…” He also says culturally things can get in the way. The sort of ‘toughen up, and move forward’ mindset.

It’s something Laura Stradley with the Veterans Outreach Center says all service members can suffer from. “You are really encouraged not to feel emotions, not to express those emotions,” says Stradley.

She says talking about how you feel can get you kicked off the mission or even separated from service. 

“That’s not natural. We do need to be able to feel and express emotions, especially when we’ve endured very difficult circumstances,” she says.

With the veteran suicide rate still hanging at around 20 per day nationally, Stradley says groups like ‘Visible Man’, and what the VOC offers, can help.

Hoffman says a disproportionate amount of stigma around mental illness is present in military culture. He says the mission of ‘Visible Man’ boils down to two things and has something for everyone: “Finding a reason to be here tomorrow and finding some strength,” he says.

‘Visible Man’ is hosting a fundraiser show at the Comedy at the Carlson on Sunday, July 24th. It is free to attend and will feature comics Dan Viola and Vinnie Paulino. 

Parade shooting suspect charged with 7 counts of murder

Robert E Crimo III, the suspect in a mass shooting on an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago that police say acted alone and pre-planned the attack, has been charged with 7 counts of first-degree murder Tuesday.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart announced the charges during a press conference saying, they are the “first of many charges to be filed.” If convicted the suspect faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Seven victims of the shooting have been confirmed by Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek, who identified six of the deceased as:

  • Katherine Goldstein, 64, of Highland Park
  • Irina McCarthy, 35, of Highland Park
  • Kevin McCarthy, 37, of Highland Park
  • Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63, of Highland Park
  • Steven Straus, 88, of Highland Park
  • Nicolas Toledo, 78, from Mexico

Six people were killed Monday and at least 39 were injured in the gunfire that was initially mistaken for fireworks, according to officials. Authorities confirmed Tuesday afternoon that a seventh person died at a hospital outside of Lake County. The identity of the seventh victim has not been released.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said the suspect used a high-powered rifle “similar to an AR-15,” spraying parade-goers with more than 70 rounds from atop a commercial building in Highland Park, an affluent community of about 30,000 on Chicago’s north shore.

Police say the suspect had planned the attack for several weeks and acted alone.

According to Covelli, the suspect dropped his rifle after the shooting, exited the roof using the fire escape and attempted to blend into the fleeing and frantic crowd.

Covelli said the suspect was disguised “as a woman” to assist in avoiding capture and can be seen in a surveillance photo wearing what appears to be a dress, scarf and possibly makeup.

“A wig is not out of the question,” Covelli said, possibly to hide his distinctive neck and face tattoos.

Authorities said a quick trace of the rifle, as well as witness statements, photos and videos, helped identify the suspect.

An hourslong manhunt during which residents hunkered down in businesses or received police escorts to their homes ended with a traffic stop and brief chase Monday evening, when authorities detained a man they described as a person of interest.

Covelli said a second rifle was found in the suspect’s vehicle. Both of the rifles as well as additional firearms at his residence were purchased legally and from separate locations in the area, according to police.

Authorities have not yet identified a motive for the attack but revealed the suspect had two prior incidents with local law enforcement. In April 2019, an individual contacted Highland Park Police Dept. a week after learning the suspect attempted suicide, according to Covelli.

“There was no law enforcement action to be taken,” Covelli said. “It was a mental health issue.”

If you or someone you know needs help, resources or someone to talk to, you can find it at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website or by calling 1-800-273-8255. People are available to talk to 24×7.

The second incident occurred in Sept 2019, when a family member reported the suspect “said he was going to kill everyone,” Covelli said.

“Police removed 16 knives, a dagger and a sword” from his home, Covelli said.

“At the time, there was no probable cause to arrest,” Covelli added, saying, State Police were notified of the incident.

Weather forecast: Overcast to start, sunshine to finish

Clouds are blanketing the region this morning and that will keep temperatures in the 60s to start. Temperatures climb to the 70s this afternoon as high pressure slides in and skies clear.