Kelvin Vickers trial: Tactical officers testify about night of Officer Mazurkiewicz’s death

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — It was an emotional day Thursday for those who knew and loved Rochester Police Officer Tony Mazurkiewicz, as his fellow officers who were with him when he died told the jury what happened.

Kelvin Vickers is on trial for Officer Mazurkiewicz’s murder. Prosecutors say Vickers fired more than a dozen shots into the van Mazurkiewicz and his partner, Officer Sino Seng, were sitting in, during an undercover detail in July 2022.

A number of members of the Rochester Police Tactical Unit, who were on that same undercover detail, testified Thursday. It was a very tough day for them — and for Mazurkiewicz’s family, who has been in the courtroom for the entirety of this trial.

These tactical officers were with Mazurkiewicz during his final moments. Some pulled him out of the minivan after he had been shot, and carried him to a police cruiser. One of them sat behind him on the way to the hospital, holding him up, trying to keep him awake and breathing.

More than a half dozen of these officers told the jury of what happened in the few minutes leading up to the shooting and what happened after.

It turns out that Mazurkiewicz was on the phone with his sergeant when the shots were fired. His last words to him were “Shots fired, send the cars.” Fellow tactical team members were within a block and raced to the scene. One testified to helping Officer Sino Seng, who had been shot in the legs but was able to get out and draw his gun. Other officers testified to helping get Mazurkiewicz out of the van and into the back of a police cruiser. They said they made a decision to take him to Strong Memorial Hospital because his injuries were bad.

Every member of the tactical team said they stayed at Strong with the Mazurkiewicz family until his body was released to the medical examiner.

“They were all there that evening, they all had bits and pieces of evidence to contribute to the overall picture that we’re trying to paint for the jury,” Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley said. “It was very emotional for a lot of them — Officer Mazurkiewicz was their friend, they had worked with him for years, some of them have known him for over a decade.”

One of those tactical officers testified to staying behind initially to set up a perimeter in hopes of finding the person who shot his colleagues. He said he noticed a vacant home nearby and gathered a team of officers to search it. That’s where they found Kelvin Vickers hiding, according to the testimony, with no shirt or shoes, just wearing long shorts.

Under cross-examination by Vickers’ defense attorney, all of the tactical officers said they did not know that there had been a shooting on that same street a day earlier before they were assigned to surveil a home on it.

“That’s going to be critical to intent here because again, you have officers who are over there, investigating or doing surveillance, not knowing that there’s been this violence, gang violence between these two factions for the past 48-72 hours and 32 shots had been fired at 55 Laser Street,” said Mike Schiano, Vickers’ defense attorney. “And now you have all these people just making laps around this house — and again, you’ll see video later on either this week or next week that shows these individuals on edge during the course of this whole period of time.”