City leaders address violence following shooting of 10-year-old girl

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ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) — Mayor Malik D. Evans held a press conference Saturday afternoon addressing the city’s violence after a 10-year-old girl was shot last night.

A 10-year-old girl playing at grandma’s house is in the hospital after her home on the 200 block of Moulson Street in Rochester was shot up early Saturday morning just before 2:00 a.m.

When officers arrived, they found the girl had been shot multiple times in the upper body and she was transported to Strong Hospital by ambulance. Police say she expected to survive.

Evidence was located indicating that at least 20 gunshots were fired outside the home, with numerous projectiles entering the home through the walls.

Mayor Malik Evans and Rochester Police Department Interim Chief David Smith held a press conference Saturday afternoon to speak on the violence that has been plaguing the Rochester community.

"As I said in my inaugural address, violence must never, ever be normalized. It must never be normalized. And the moment that we let it become normalized is the moment we lose our society, and we lose our sense of who we are as a people," said Mayor Malik D. Evans.

“The young girl was in the living room, braiding her grandmother’s hair when she was struck by gunfire that came through the walls,” Smith said.

The investigation also shows that unfortunately, this house appears to have been targeted. Investigators say the intended target was a 32-year-old man who lives at the home and has a long criminal history.

"We believe the intended target of the shooting who was not there at the time of the incident, but did become involved in the investigation, is a 32-year-old resident of the house who is on parole for the conviction of assault in the first degree, robbery in the first degree, grand larceny, and has a history of weapon charges," Smith listed out.

Eventually, when the individual appeared, he was not only uncooperative with the responding officers—but attempted to dissuade the family members from cooperating with officers and to destroy evidence at the scene.

This isn’t the first time a Rochester home with people inside has been collateral damage during a gunfight. Mayor Malik Evans says this senseless act is on a whole new level.

“We have individuals who believe and think that its OK to shoot into structures, even when innocent children who have nothing to do with those beefs are in those houses and we need to stop this,” the Mayor said.

Back in April, one bullet hit an air mattress that a 14-year-old was sleeping on.

"In order to solve this case and many others, the RPD relies on assistance from the community. We need members of the community to step up and bring justice to those that bring violence to our neighborhoods. In this case, we have the opposite. A 10-year-old child was shot multiple times and a convicted violent offender is not only refusing to provide information as to what occurred but is actively encouraging others in the investigation to remain silent. It is this accepted cycle of constant violence and retaliation that leads us to where we are today.

"We owe it as a community to hold the shooter of this child accountable."

“I just didn’t expect that, I thought it might be someone over 20, not a little girl,” Christian Gonzales, a resident in the area said.

Gonzales says he hears about the shootings in the city—but never did he anticipate a shooting to happen so close to home.

"I have a little sister that lives here. What if they shot up closer here and hit my sister,” Gonzales added.

"We have individuals in the community without the ability to handle conflict without involving any predicate members associated with that,” Victor Saunders said, who is the Rochester Violence Prevention Advisor under Mayor Malik Evans’ administration.

We’ve seen community action teams out in certain neighborhoods. Mayor Malik Evans says his office, along with the police department, has certain targeted areas.

"Covering areas in the city that have seen high levels of violence that are unacceptable like in this are the North Clinton area, that is on our radar,” Evans said.

Saunders says he, along with his team, is willing to meet anyone, anywhere, any time, to help resolve a conflict.

"No matter how big you feel it might be, we’re willing to have a conversation, that could eliminate an individual from firing at a house and striking a young child," Saunders said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call 911, or Crimestoppers at 428-9300 with any information.