Two people were fatally shot and at least 14 others were reported to be injured after a mass shooting took place during a backyard party in Rochester, New York overnight, according to the Rochester Police Department.
ABC News reported that the shooting took place on Pennsylvania Avenue around 12:25 a.m., with police saying that several dozen rounds were fired at the incident.
News Reporter Wendy Mills took to Twitter following the incident, tweeting: “Two people are dead after a mass shooting in Rochester. Police say 16 people were shot at a house party —estimated at about 100 people around 12:45am on Pennsylvania Ave. off North Goodman St. The two deceased —1 female and 1 male.”
This is “truly a tragedy of epic proportions,” Rochester interim Police Chief Mark Simmons said during a press conference early Saturday morning. “Sixteen victims is unheard of.”
One deceased victim is a female aged 18-22 and the other is a male, also aged 18-22. ABC News reported that the 14 “surviving victims were taken to two local hospitals. Simmons said none of the other victims have suffered life-threatening injuries.”
Mills tweeted again shortly after, confirming the ages of the victims, tweeting: “Update: Mass shooting victims in Rochester, NY range in age from 17 to 23 years old. Two people died. 16 people shot.”
Simmons said that officers are still interviewing witnesses to get more information about how the shooting started and learn more about the suspect or suspects.
A witness shared with WHAM that the gunfire sounded “like the Vietnam War.”
WHAM reported: “URMC says 10 victims were evaluated at Strong Memorial Hospital, nine believed to be victims of the mass shooting. Two of the patients were admitted to Golisano Children’s Hospital – one of whom is stable; the second patient is in the pediatric ICU. Two adults are in stable condition at the hospital. Four were treated and released, while two others are still under evaluation.”
When police arrived on the scene, Simmons said officers saw 100 people running to and from the location. Two people fleeing the scene were also injured. Up until the 911 call came in for the shooting, there were no calls to complain about the large gathering, he noted, according to ABC News.
“This tragic act of violence has impacted many people’s lives and families,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said in a statement provided to WHAM on Saturday. “I’m begging everyone to remain calm and exercise deep restraint as RPD investigates what happened here and seeks those responsible.”
Warren released a statement, saying:
I’ve been briefed by Acting Police Chief Simmons on the shooting event which occurred on Pennsylvania Avenue in the City of Rochester. Our Pathways to Peace Team is on the ground and working with the victims and their families. I’m asking the community for prayers and support for all involved. This tragic act of violence has impacted many people’s lives and families. I’m begging everyone to remain calm and exercise deep restraint as RPD investigates what happened here and seeks those responsible. As soon as additional information is available the police department will provide updates on this matter. Please keep our city in your continual prayers.
The city of Rochester has been on edge recently with nightly protests following the release of footage that showed the death of 41-year-old Daniel Prude in police custody.
ABC News reported that “in the video, officers are seen pinning Prude to the ground while a spit bag is on his head, and he eventually appears to go unconscious. Prude died a week later. The Monroe County medical examiner listed his death as a homicide caused by ‘complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.'”
This comes as protests and riots have ravaged many major cities across the country since the death of George Floyd. The violence has only been exacerbated by the police-involved shootings of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta and Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.