16-year-old who died in Emerson St. shooting was RCSD student
*Story updated to clarify that Rochester Police are no longer claiming this house was rented out through Airbnb*
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Police said a shooting in Rochester killed a 16-year-old city school student and injured an 18-year-old girl as they attended a birthday party on Saturday night.
Superintendent Myers-Small said the Rochester City School District mourns the loss of 16-year-old Zahira Smith. “Another bright future has been senselessly ended. We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends,” she said.
Investigators said the two girls were unintended victims. They haven’t yet released the name of the 18-year-old victim, who is expected to survive.
No one is in custody for the murder of Zahira that happened on Emerson Street near Sawdey Way. Ameer Andrews, 18, was arrested for firing shots in the area with what police said was a gun will an illegal round capacity. A statement from RPD said they believe Andrews was an attendee of the party and returned fire after the girls were shot.
Police responded to calls of a shooting around 10:00 p.m. Investigators said gunshots went through the house where the party was happening and the girls were standing near the door. Police said the house on 221 Emerson St. was a rental for an invite-only birthday party.
An investigation determined that the first shows were fired from an empty lot on the north side of Emerson Street, which struck the girls. Then, there was return fire toward the empty lot.
Police said Zahira died at the scene and the 18-year-old was taken to URMC for treatment.
RCSD said they won’t release information about which school Zahira attended until the students have been addressed. Here is Myers-Small’s full statement about the murder.
"Today we mourn the passing of one of our scholars from our District. I am devastated that young lives continue to end abruptly because of gun violence. We must come together as a community to protect our children from these senseless acts that take them from us far too soon. Another bright future has been senselessly ended. We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends. Our Trauma, Illness, and Grief team will be at the school tomorrow to assist our scholars and staff as they grapple with yet another heartbreak."
Andrews was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and possession of an ammunition feeding device. Officers caught him after a foot chase and he will be arranged on Monday.
RPD is looking for suspects and anyone with information is asked to call 911. You can also call the RPD’s Major Crimes Unit, which is conducting the investigation into the shooting, at 585-428-7157. The number for Crime Stoppers is 585-423-9300.