Updated: 07/01/2014 11:21 PM
Created: 07/01/2014 12:17 PM WHEC.com
There was a guilty verdict in the case of a man charged with murdering two people outside a nightclub and then shooting a Rochester Police sergeant, days later.
Deliberations only lasted a few hours, but Ralph Strong Jr. is looking at life in prison. Early Tuesday evening, Strong was found guilty of two counts of murder, aggravated murder, assault on a police officer, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.
Police say he shot and killed two men outside a nightclub on Central Avenue last June. Then days later, police say he shot a Rochester Police sergeant, who tried to pull him over.
News10NBC obtained exclusive surveillance video from the night of the murders. The prosecutor believes the exclusive video and Ralph Strong’s own testimony are what helped the jury to find Strong guilty of almost all of the charges he faced. The verdict is a relief for the surviving victim and the family of the two men murdered in June of last year.
Ernest Singleton, victim's brother, said, “It is a chapter of closure. You know, it is still a long road. This is just one piece.”
It is a road that started outside the Club Network on Central Avenue on June 24, 2013. In the security video from that night, Ralph Strong is seen in a white tank top. In the video, he walks up to a group, which included Strong’s sister and girlfriend along with Jahmia Singleton and Reggie Johnson. The jury saw the video in the courtroom.
As the video goes on, Strong walks away, but soon comes back to the group. Moments later, in the video, he reaches around one of the women and shoots both the men. They run. In the video, Strong chases them and continues to shoot. Strong testifies that he shot both men again in the back.
Tiffany Jones, victim's sister, said, “I'm happy he is off the streets. This is closure, but we will never get our loved ones back.”
Strong said he felt threatened by the two men he killed. He also told the jury he planned to turn himself in when police spotted him a few days later on East Main Street, where a chase started. During that chase, Strong shot and injured Sgt. Flamur Zenelovic. Zenelovic testified against Strong. He says he is thankful to the jury for looking at all the facts and reaching their verdict.
Sgt. Flamur Zenelovic said, “It helps to bring this incident to a close for all of us and we look forward to sentencing, to make sure Ralph Strong is sentenced to the maximum possible for all the damage he has done to everyone in the last year. We will never forget, obviously, we will learn and become stronger.”
Strong will be sentenced in the beginning of September. He is facing life in prison without parole.