Overnight violence forces organizers to cancel Puerto Rican Festival Parade

ROCHESTER, N,Y. –I’m on North Clinton Avenue, where at 11 a.m. the parade was supposed to kick off for the Puerto Rican Festival. Officially, it has been canceled due to Friday night’s deadly shootings.

“It’s sad, you know, it’s sad cause it’s being confused for festival. It is, and let me tell you, it has nothing to do with the festival, I promise you,” said Irma Pabon, festival-goer.

Last night hundreds of people gathered in the streets on North Clinton Avenue. By two in the morning, five people had been shot, one fatally. Included in the list of victims, a 13-year-old girl, shot in the chest.

“Children, there were children out there last night. It’s just wrong, I’m, I’m just, I’m angry,” said Mercedes Vaquez Simmons, Monroe County Legislator.

On that same street – the Puerto Rican parade was supposed to kick off at 11 a.m. Parade president Yolanda Culver found out about the shooting when she came out this morning to set up.

“Everyone was so excited to have it go down Clinton Ave. this morning, but we’re not going to lose hope. We’re going to continue, and we’re going to have our activities over at Innovation Field,” said parade president, Yolanda Culver.

Her views are shared –

“This doesn’t stop anything, we’re going to keep going, we’re going to continue celebrating till the night is over,” said festival-goer, Joel Ortiz.

Many who came to celebrate live or work in North Clinton. They say they’re fed up with the violence.

“We have to do something about this crime. I’m telling you if we don’t do anything, tonight’s going to be a mirror, and Sunday as well.”

While the festival will continue, many worry that the shootings will too, long after the weekend is over.

“You can’t just brush things off like that. You can’t just ignore the violence that’s going on around you and think it’s okay. it’s not okay. We are not safe. When I say we’re not, we are not,” said Pabon.

And festivities are still on at Innovative Field from now until 11 p.m. Saturday night.