As many celebrated the nation’s independence, gun violence again flared across the nation and struck Rochester–where 11 people were shot, three fatally, since July 1.
“I am deeply saddened but not surprised that the wave of unusually high levels of violence that swept the nation this weekend also swept through Rochester,” Mayor Malik Evans said in a July 5 statement.
“Once again my heart is broken for the victims, families and friends impacted by these tragic and senseless acts; and once again I am grateful to the men and women of the Rochester Police Department and our partners in law enforcement for their fast and incredibly courageous responses, which prevented further loss of life and injury.”
The latest killings added to the record number of gun-related homicides in Rochester during the first half of 2022. According to RPD data, the city recorded 28 homicides by firearm in the six months ended June 30. That compares with 25 homicides in the same period a year ago, which previously was the highest number over the last two decades.
The percentage of homicides by firearm is also higher than in previous years. Of total homicides in the first half of 2022, 82 percent were committed with a gun, up 14 percentage points from the previous year, and a 12-point increase compared with the 22-year average of 70 percent. As previously reported by the Beacon, the number of illegal guns in circulation also has been on the rise.
“The common denominator on all of these incidents, whether premeditated or circumstantial, is illegal guns. I will continue to include my voice among the mayors and urban leaders calling for common-sense solutions to these very predictable challenges,” Evans said in his statement, referring to his participation in a statewide mayors meeting on gun violence.
One shooting took place early Tuesday morning in Clinton-Baden Park. One person was killed and three others were wounded at an illegal, unsanctioned party at the Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center. The Clinton neighborhood has accounted for nearly half of all Rochester homicides by firearm this year–a total of 13.
The mayor urged people who attended the event to seek peaceful resolutions and look for support offered by Pathways to Peace street outreach teams. He also decried agitators at the event who “sought to further inflame the crowd and turn the violence against the officers” who arrived on the scene.
According to his statement, the incident involved more than 300 people. Evans has instructed the police department to step up its enforcement of illegal gatherings and asked community members to call 911 if they have information about an illegal event.
“The life you save could be your own or that of someone you love,” Evans said.