City officials address gun violence, bullets into homes

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. It’s a dangerous situation that could’ve ended a lot worse. Police said three homes, with people inside, were shot at overnight on the city’s northeast side.

A woman in her 70s was grazed by a bullet while lying in bed on Hazelwood Terrace. Thankfully, police said she is physically OK. The three homes are all in close proximity, and each was fired upon in the same time frame. The other two shootings were on Garnet Street off Clifford Avenue and Crombie Street off Bay Street.

Neighbors News10NBC spoke with said they’re deeply concerned.

“I have a message for the people who are doing this,” said Carlene James. “They need to stop, they need to know that they did not give life and they should not try to take life.”

James has lived in the neighborhood for two years. The shooting Thursday night left her rattled. She said it’s not uncommon to hear gunshots at night.

“Whoever is doing it, they need help,” said James. “They need help. And I don’t think society is doing enough to help them.”

Meantime, more than a dozen community members gathered by the Liberty Pole Friday morning, launching Gun Violence Awareness Month and Wear Orange Weekend.

“[Orange is] the color hunters wear to protect themselves out in the wild,” said Victor Saunders, the city’s program director for the Office of Violence Prevention.

“This day was started in memory of a 15-year-old from Chicago, Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed one week after marching in President Obama’s second inaugural parade,” said Saunders. “She was supposed to turn 26 today.”

Saunders said part of his job is getting inside the neighborhoods, talking to youth and teaching them how to handle disputes responsibly and safely.

“Once a month we do Mayor on the Block, and we’re in every major neighborhood in the city,” he said. “Not only that, but as the director of office violence prevention I have two outreach teams on the streets daily.”

He said they’re especially working to reach teens.

Eriketa Cost: “Schools are going to be out. How are you reaching those youth who may not have that parental guidance right now?”

Saunders: “We’ve already started that. Our summer of opportunity program is going strong. We’re getting a lot of youth through that just completed a summer session at Center for Youth. We have many activities and alternatives in play that will allow these young people to be able to step out of their homes and find a peaceful space.”

News10NBC tried to speak with Mayor Malik Evans today, but staff tell News10NBC he couldn’t make the event due to a conflict. Advocates at the peace rally said their goal is to eradicate gun violence, hoping for a day when no more gunshots are fired in this city. Meanwhile, police continue to investigate the three shootings.