Neighborhoods "under siege" after weekend of 3 killed, 8 shot, 5 held up at gunpoint, 4 stabbed
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – RPD calls it a bad, violent weekend. Not only were three people killed and eight others shot, but the Rochester Police union also tweeted four people were stabbed, five were held up at gunpoint, and there were 14 other shootings where no one was hit.
The person shot and killed during a huge party early Tuesday morning next to a city rec center on N. Clinton Avenue is 24-year-old Willie Wofford. Wofford was arrested in January for shooting another man last year. Wofford was shot when he was 19 and survived.
His shooting death happened during a party of two to three hundred people on a basketball court.
"And at some point during that party, during that gathering, shots were fired," Lt. Greg Bello said.
Police say they have a video that shows what happened but won’t release it to us. Police say the scene was too dangerous for the ambulance crew, so they used a police car to pick up Wofford and drive him to Strong Hospital, giving him CPR on the way. Wofford died at the hospital.
When hundreds of people scattered after the gunfire started, they dropped all kinds of things.
"I’m just looking for a cell phone that was dropped last night," one woman told me as she scoured the open field off N. Clinton Avenue.
"What was it like here last night?" I asked her. "Chaotic," she said.
"I came from the fireworks and I came down here and it was really nice," Terrance Rayford said.
Rayford says he was riding his bicycle back home when he stopped at the party. He says he left when the vibe started to change. He was talking to a member of the city’s Pathways to Peace program when he paused to answer our questions.
"I work for a living and I’m not around the young people anymore. They’ve got a different style. Their attitude and everything is completely different. Personality. And a lot of them just don’t care," he said.
"The neighborhoods are under siege right now," said Luis Aponte.
Aponte chairs the "Many Neighbors Building Neighborhoods" group, a collection of neighborhood presidents. He represents JOSANA, the Jay and Orchard Street neighborhood. Aponte met me at the basketball court where Wofford was killed.
Luis Aponte, Many Neighbors Building Neighborhoods: "Let’s talk about where do we go from here and how do we fix it?"
Brean: "So where do we go?"
Aponte: "I think we go to a police department that has enough members to do the job, number one. Number two – support from City Hall."
In a statement, Mayor Malik Evans wrote "I… instructed RPD to step up its enforcement of illegal gatherings to prevent future events of this nature." The full statement can be read below.
Evans told people to call 911 if they learn about large, unsanctioned parties.
"The life you save could be your own or that of someone you love," he wrote.
The RPD ranks are down more than 70 officers.
The mayor also wrote "the common denominator on all of these incidents, whether pre-meditated or circumstantial, is illegal guns.
RPD recovers, on average, two guns every day.
News10NBC is still challenging law enforcement to release gun trace data so we can find out how illegal guns end up in our city.