‘Something has to happen’: Neighbors in North Clinton area are fed up with crime

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A war zone. That’s the only way Mercedes Vazquez Simmons says she can describe Thursday night’s shootings.

“Those individuals that were out there congregating, that were part of this violence, weren’t even residents. They weren’t even from this community. Yet they come into Clinton Avenue area and cause havoc,” she said.

Gunfire erupted in Rochester just before 11 p.m. Tuesday. Police say a large crowd gathered at the intersection of North Clinton Avenue and Seibert Place. When it was over, three people had been shot: A 20-year-old man was shot and taken to Strong Memorial Hospital. He is listed in critical but stable condition. Another man was hit by a car fleeing the scene. He too was taken to Strong. Two others were shot: a 37-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man. They are expected to survive.

Vazquez Simmons represents this community in the Monroe County Legislature and says she has been pleading for outside help.

“You know, I called for the National Guard. I’ve called for major measures in the city, and it’s gone to deaf ears. Something has to happen and not a temporary fix. We need a plan. We need a permanent plan so that the individuals and families that live in this community, that call this community home, can have a quality of life,” she said.

She was joined by Albert Algarin, who heads the North Clinton Avenue Business Association. He says crime is hurting the business community.

“As these crimes continue to happen, the people don’t feel safe. Why should they come here where they can go somewhere that they don’t have to worry about being shot, or being harassed,” he said.

Vazquez Simmons also fears some people will connect the triple shooting to the Puerto Rican Festival, which opened Thursday.

“Unfortunately the Puerto Rican festival does get a bad reputation because of the violence that occurs, but the violence has occurred every single weekend in this community,” she said.

Rochester police want to hear from you if you have any information on this shooting. You can call crime stoppers or 911.