Police release ID of 2 men shot and killed on Chestnut Street Thursday

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester Police are looking for a shooter following a shooting that killed two men in an apartment building in Rochester Thursday morning.

Officers went to the scene on Chestnut Street near East Avenue around 3 a.m. for a report of multiple shots fired.

Capt. Frank Umbrino said officers went into the eight-floor building believing the shooter could’ve still been inside. As they worked to clear people out of the building, he said police found the first man dead in the stairwell to the second floor. Umbrino said officers then found the other man dead in the hallway of the third floor.

The victims were later identified as Tywan Harper, 22, who police say lived at 35 Chestnut St, and Malakai Smith, 19, of Greece.

He did not provide the exact ages of the two men killed but said one man was in his late teens, the other was in his early 20s. The murders marked the 69th and 70th homicide victims in Rochester in 2021. Seventy homicides made 2021 the deadliest year in Rochester’s history. Just a few hours later on Thursday, there was another homicide, bringing the total to 71.

“It’s terrible, it’s scary for the people who live here, scary for the officers that have to walk into a potential active shooter situation investigation," Umbrino said. "People are sleeping at 3 o clock in the morning, they shouldn’t be woken up by gunfire outside of their apartment, it sucks.”

Umbrino said officers believe one of the men lived in the apartment building, and the shooting appeared to be targeted.

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He says the shooter ran from the building before police got there, and there is no description of the suspect at this time. While a motive is not known, the captain said all other people living in the apartment are safe, and there is no immediate threat to the community.

The captain was "not prepared" to say if the building has been a problem for police before.

"It just gets really old having to talk to the families and explaining that their loved one is not going to be at the dinner table this evening, Umbrino said. "We as a community need to stand up and we need to put our foot down, and say enough is enough. If people know something they need to call us, because whoever did this, it may be your family member that gets killed tomorrow by the same people."

In a release Thursday morning, Umbrino shared homicide numbers dating back to 1970, it showed 2021 outpaced 1991 for the deadliest year. 1991 had 69 recorded homicides, per RPD data. Umbrino noted record keeping in the early years was not as reliable as it is today. A man who died this year, Rasheem Broughton, was shot back in 1991. His death was ruled a homicide, but it was counted in 2021 due to the FBI’s reporting standards.

Here’s a look at the data shared by police.

Year Number of Homicides
1970 22
1971 32
1972 30
1973 35
1974 33
1975 31
1976 31
1977 55
1978 38
1979 31
1980 29
1981 38
1982 34
1983 33
1984 40
1985 30
1986 40
1987 31
1988 39
1989 44
1990 43
1991 69
1992 50
1993 68
1994 66
1995 60
1996 50
1997 57
1998 48
1999 32
2000 42
2001 45
2002 45
2003 57
2004 37
2005 54
2006 52
2007 49
2008 44
2009 27
2010 40
2011 34
2012 38
2013 42
2014 35
2015 37
2016 44
2017 29
2018 28
2019 32
2020 51
2021 71 (As of Nov. 12)


In response to Thursday morning’s shooting, and recent violence, Rochester Mayor-Elect Malik Evans released the following statement:

"Last Tuesday, on Election Day, November 2nd, a 15-year-old was murdered. A week later, on Tuesday, November 9th, multiple teenagers were shot in one night. Early this morning, Rochester marked its 70th homicide with the slaying of two individuals on Chestnut and Elm Streets. Most alarming is the sheer number of teens that have been shot this year. Sixty people under the age of 18 have been shot in 2021. Violence in our city has become an all too common occurrence. I want to reiterate that we as a community must not let violence become normalized. We are in a state of emergency, and we must have a "whole community" approach to solve this issue. As part of my transition, we will be pulling together all who are willing to help tackle the scourge of violence in our community. The government cannot and will not solve this problem alone. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of these most recent slayings.

I look forward to engaging with our community as we seek transformative, systemic change."

As for the Chestnut shooting, the Major Crimes Unit is conducting the investigation and is asking anybody with information to call 911, the Major Crimes Unit at (585) 428-7157, Crime Stoppers at (585) 423-9300, or email MajorCrimes@cityofrochester.gov