With 53, Rochester at highest homicide rate in nearly a decade

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Local leaders say community conversations are not enough when it comes to gun violence in Rochester. 53 homicides is the highest number the city has had in nearly a decade. Police are still searching for a suspect in Sunday morning’s shooting. Investigators say because of bail reform, they’re making arrests but can’t keep suspects in custody.

"It’s kind of sad that we have to call the feds in to try and keep people in custody. That’s not something that we should have to do. We should be able to do that on our own; it’s a problem,” Capt. Frank Umbrino said.

Investigators say, in broad daylight, Jerry Britt, 41, of Rochester, was sitting in a chair on the sidewalk on Avenue A when he was shot dead Sunday morning.

"We have to try and cease this violence. It’s a Sunday morning; everyone should be at church, not out here shooting each other,” Umbrino said.

According to homicide and shooting data from the Rochester Police Department, victims and suspects are predominately black.

Community leaders, like Rudy Rivera, the executive director of Father Laurence Tracy Advocacy Center says, he’s baffled by the amount of gun violence the city is seeing.

"This is beyond, ‘Let’s just stop.’ This is a serious look in the mirror, and ‘Let’s examine ourselves.’ I’m talking about the whole community, but especially to the black and brown communities, we cannot be silent while this is taking place.”

Rivera tells News10NBC that he does not agree with the Peacemaker Fellowship, an incentive the city has to confront gun violence on city streets by paying and mentoring young people at risk to be potential shooters. He says there has to be a better way.

"You’re cultivating the tolerance, and you’re going to have to keep coming back with more money, could have saved us a lot of hard lessons we will have to learn, getting into this idea of incentivizing people for conduct? That is a fixed recipe for creating an addictive lifestyle.”

RPD says Sunday morning’s fatal shooting on Avenue A is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

On Friday, two days before this latest homicide, News10NBC spoke with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren about the increasing number of deadly shootings in the city.

Lovely Warren, (D) Rochester Mayor said, "This is all gonna take time. When you’re shut down for a year over a year with no contact with people, it takes time to rebuild those relationships, and that’s what we’re in the process of doing right now. We believe the work that’s being done based on the numbers that we’re seeing which is some reduction. But, of course, as I said before one life lost is one too many."

Mayor Warren faces her own problems, notably a charge of criminal possession of a firearm after her husband’s drug and gun arrest in May.