Salvation Army counselors react to House of Mercy stabbing

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Salvation Army counselors who were inside House of Mercy after a man was stabbed to death say they still can’t believe what they saw.

The nonprofit is helping temporarily relocate people while the shelter is closed. Salvation Army says it took in about five people into its Adult Rehabilitation Center. Counselors who were once part of the program knew how they could help.

“It was a big uproar a chaotic moment,” John Scott said, with the look of shock still in his eyes.

For close to 20 years, Scott has been a counselor for the Salvation Army. He says he was once in the program and found his purpose to help others.

He says he’s helped many find their way, in various situations, but has never found himself at a murder scene.

“When we got down there it was everyone just scattered in the grass and a chaotic scene and people crying about what they saw.”

Scott says he could hear the traumatized cries for help.

“I heard, ‘Where are we going from here? I have no place to go.’”

Scott and another counselor with the nonprofit, Thurston Johnson, who was also once in the program and has been a counselor for ten years, walked around to start guiding people to Salvation Army. It has dozens of beds available.

“It took an incident like this to happen for people to come our way from that situation and sometimes it works like that, we want people to feel safe here,” Johnson said.

When investigators got to House of Mercy Sunday night they found a 60-year-old man stabbed to death and a 20 year-old-man also stabbed. He’s expected to recover. Police say it was an unprovoked attack and the suspect had a large knife. Members from Salvation Army say anyone who walks through the salvation army’s doors is checked before being taken in.

“Our safety as well as theirs, we check everything in the bag, every day they leave the building, leave the grounds we breathalyze urine tests too,” Scott added.

We have reached out to the House of Mercy, we’re still waiting to hear back. Salvation Army says some folks they took in have stayed some have left, but want the community to know they have beds open.