RPD: Suspect remains hospitalized after being shot; Chase led to recovered guns and narcotics

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A man is in the hospital after being shot on Monday night during a police chase.

The 26-year-old was shot on First Street on the city’s northeast side. He remains in the hospital in stable condition.

Rochester Police say they anticipate releasing body-camera footage in the coming days as their investigation allows.

It all began around 9:45 p.m. Monday when the Rochester Police Department got reports of gunfire on Seventh Street from a ShotSpotter alert.

At the scene, an officer saw a truck with no headlights. RPD says that the driver fled, leading to a chase that ended when the car crashed into a pole on First Street near Hempel Street.

According to RPD, the driver ran down First Street and eventually came to a backyard, where the officer tried to take him in custody. That led to a struggle where the officer tried to use his Taser. Eventually, the driver was shot in the upper body. An RPD sergeant performed life-saving medical care on the man at the scene and in the ambulance. The man is currently at Strong Memorial Hospital and is expected to survive.

“This sergeant had some medical training. So, not only did he attend to the suspect at the scene but he jumped into the ambulance with the ambulance crew and rode to the hospital,” Smith said.

The officer sustained “trauma to his upper body,” was taken to the hospital, and later released, but Smith didn’t elaborate further.

RPD says they found a loaded handgun and a large amount of narcotics around First Street. Officers say they also found another loaded gun in the suspect’s truck and multiple pieces of the officer’s equipment and uniform scattered around the area.

“We have a gun recovered from the vehicle, we have a gun recovered from the scene of the struggle with the officer, along with a large amount of drugs,” Smith said.

RPD says the man who was shot was convicted in 2019 of illegally possessing a handgun in the city and had a warrant for fleeing from officers in a car. Smith said the man will face charges, which will be announced later.

Smith said he has seen the officer’s body-worn camera video from the backyard. He said the footage is dark, so it’s dark to determine whether the suspect drew a gun. RPD and the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office are investigating. They’re looking for videos and witnesses and are asking anyone with information to call 911.

On Wednesday, three Rochester city councilmembers — Stanley Martin, Kim Smith and Vice President Mary Lupien — issued a statement about the shooting:

“We share our deepest sympathies with the young man who was shot by the Rochester Police Department this week, and offer our condolences to his family.  Following this traumatic incident, we can only hope for healing and recovery. 

“The news of yet another young man shot while fleeing an RPD officer has unfortunately become all too familiar in our city.  This is not normal — it is unacceptable, and we reject all efforts by the RPD to make our community believe otherwise. 

“Media explanations alluding to former convictions and the possession of drugs do not address the potential loss of human life and are not satisfactory justification for shooting a fellow human being.  Police are equipped with non-lethal weapons intended to preserve life, yet these shootings continue to occur, causing irreparable harm to the victims, their families and the Rochester community at large. 

“We grieve with all of our community members impacted by this shooting, and call on the RPD and Mayor Evans’ administration to turn over all body-worn camera footage to the Police Accountability Board in hopes of a transparent, community-led investigation.”

Later Wednesday, Lt. Greg Bello of the RPD issued the following statement:

“We are aware of public speculation into the events of Monday night.  Anytime an Officer discharges their weapon, it is our responsibility to conduct a thorough investigation into the events.  We anticipate releasing BWC footage in the coming days, as the investigation allows.  We ask for patience as the investigation continues so that we are able to provide our community with the most thorough, complete information.  Speculation, without viewing BWC video, surveillance video, or any other evidence is premature, irresponsible and dangerous to our community.”

Mike Mazzeo, head of Rochester’s police union, called the situation a nightmare for that officer.

“This is a nightmare and it will continue to be a nightmare as well as he deals with it,” Mazzeo said. “Going through instance after instance after instance, I’ve never gone through a situation where an officer is immediately okay with what happened.”

Mayor Malik Evans released this statement Tuesday about the officer-involved shooting:

Last night’s incident presented a significant threat to one of our Rochester Police Department officers. I am relieved that our officer is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries. I am also thankful that the officer was able to subdue the assailant without any loss of life. Incidents like these highlight the dangers involved in police work and the perils police officers often face on a daily basis. The City is following all processes for a full investigation on this incident. We will continue to provide information and updates as they become available.

You can see Chief Smith’s full conference here:

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