RPD: Alleged cop killer hired to kill rival gang members in an ongoing marijuana drug war
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — We can finally answer the question: Why was the 21-year-old accused of killing RPD Officer Tony Mazurkiewicz in Rochester in the first place?
Tuesday, RPD said Kelvin Vickers Jr. and two other known gang members from Boston were hired to come to Rochester to kill rival gang members in an ongoing marijuana drug war.
RPD says Officer Mazurkiewicz was investigating two alleged gang murders July 20 when he and his partner were ambushed on July 21.
See more of our coverage:
- Sept 29: Kelvin Vickers, accused of killing RPD officer, was back in court on two other murder charges
- Sept 28: Father believes murders of his son and RPD’s Mazurkiewicz have deeper connections to the same man from Boston
- Aug 31: Family of accused cop killer speaks publicly for the first time and complains about jail conditions
- Aug 2: Outpouring of support for fallen RPD Officer
- Aug 1: RPD Chief, Officers remember Officer Mazurkiewicz
- July 27: Vickers indicted by grand jury in shooting death of Officer Mazurkiewicz
- July 21: What we know about the killing of Officer Mazurkiewicz and the man charged
“They were helping unravel a ruthless network of individuals that were involved in murders, shootings and arsons,” Capt. Frank Umbrino said.
Umbrino says those murders, shootings and arson all revolved around a war between rival marijuana distributors in Rochester. A federal complaint filed today said one of the distributors, Brandon Washington, is affiliated with the gang “Crips.” The other distributor, only identified in the complaint by the initials R.S. and his nickname “Coop,” is affiliated with the gang “Bloods.”
On July 20th, Ricky Collinge and MyJel Rand were killed in a drive-by shooting on North Clinton Avenue. Rochester police say the vehicle where the shots came from was set on fire later that morning on Weyl Street.
Suspecting retaliation, the next day in that same neighborhood, Tactical Unit officers Tony Mazurkiewicz and Sino Seng sat in an unmarked minivan watching a suspected house on Laser Street. A second undercover team was on the street as well.
“Tact officer observed activity on the porch of 52 Laser St. and saw a male walk off a porch south across the street and out of their view,” Umbrino said. “At 9:18 p.m. the suspect opens fire and shoots 17 gunshots into the driver’s side of Maz and Seng’s vehicle. “
Mazurkiewicz and Seng were hit multiple times. A stray bullet went into a house and hit a 15-year-old girl. “Maz” died two hours later.
“So the question is why were these men in Rochester?” asked Umbrino. “We believe Vickers and Robinson arrived in Rochester in the early part of July at the behest of Brandon Washington to shoot his rival marijuana dealers.”
Vickers was found hiding in a known vacant house steps from where the officers were shot. Police say they found a gun wrapped in his sweatshirt. RPD says ballistic tests showed the gun matched the bullets fired at the officers.
Vickers was born and raised in the Boston area and was released from a Massachusetts maximum security prison in late May. RPD believes he arrived in Rochester in early July.
Brean: “Do you believe he was shooting at police officers or one of these rival gang members?”
Capt. Frank Umbrino, RPD Major Crimes: “Based upon information presented to the Monroe County grand jury, based upon the information they heard, the grand jurors believed that Vickers should have reasonably known or had reasonably known that Officer Maz and Officer Seng were police officers.”
Brean: “Have they thwarted this gang drug war?”
Umbrino: “Well they certainly thwarted all the violence that was occurring within the 24 to 48 hours on the 21st. I think there were certainly more people who were going to get shot, more people who were going to die, more houses that were going to burn.”
Vickers is accused of killing three people in less than 48 hours.
You can see the RPD’s full conference on the investigation here:
You can see the full criminal complaint from the U.S. District Court about the investigation here: