Rochester Police search for killer of ‘loving and kind’ Franklin student, 12

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Rochester’s 74th homicide victim has been identified as 12-year-old Juan Lopez.

Lopez, police say, was a seventh-grader at Benjamin Franklin Education Campus. He is the city’s youngest homicide victim this year.

“The first homicide of the year was a 14-year-old child and I thought we couldn’t get any lower than that. I thought people would wake up when a 10-year-old child was shot braiding her grandmother’s hair,” Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said. “What we are seeing is not normal and it’s not natural.”

Rochester Police say Juan and a 16-year-old boy were walking on Atkinson Street Monday night when they were shot around 7 p.m.

Juan was found dead on the sidewalk. Two blocks away on Prospect Street, they found the 16-year-old being tended to by neighbors. They and responding officers were able to stop the bleeding and he was rushed to the hospital. Police said Tuesday his injuries are life-altering.

Rochester City School District Superintendent Carmine Peluso issued a statement Tuesday afternoon on Juan’s murder:

“Our District is in mourning again, and I am struggling to find words that articulate the anger I feel as our community loses another child to violence in our streets. With this senseless tragedy, classmates have lost a friend, parents have lost a child, and we have lost another beacon of hope for the future of our City. So much promise lost!

I am sickened by the violence and how it continues to plague us. We need the community to step up. If you know something, say something. As this tragedy has the power to affect all of us, we have the power to stop the killing of our children.

I extend my deepest condolences to Juan’s family.  He was loving and kind; his classmates and teachers will never forget him.”

Evans implored anyone with information to come forward.

“We need someone to speak up. I’m begging someone to speak up. It’s this young man today,” Evans said. “It could be your child tomorrow. Rochester must speak up.”

Anonymous tips can be reported by calling 911, 311, Crime Stoppers at (585) 423-9300, or City Hall at (585) 428-7045.

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