Evans declares gun violence state of emergency

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With the number of firearm-related homicides in Rochester rising to record midyear levels, Mayor Malik Evans has declared a state of emergency.

In a statement released Thursday, Evans announced that, under the broad powers given to him during a state of emergency, aggressive targeted tactics would go into effect for the Rochester Police Department, the Office of Violence Prevention, and the Office of Recreation and Human Services. 

“The city and our partners in government will dedicate all possible resources to bring an immediate end to this violence and prevent it from expanding further,” Evans said.

The strategies presented by Evans’ office include increased enforcement by police in “micro-hot spots,” engaging in dispute mitigation between potential offenders, hiring a mental health clinician, programs from the Advance Peace Peacemaker Fellowship, the Rochester Re-entry Coordinator, the Summer Enrichment Program, and Pathways to Peace, as well as expanded hours for youth to have safe havens at certain city R-Centers.

In addition, Evans called on federal, state and county partners to provide further mental health and violence disruption resources, and for city residents with information on disputes or criminal activity to come forward and cooperate with the police or Office of Violence Prevention

These wide-reaching responses reflect an understanding that gun violence is a multifaceted issue with many causes.

“Our most powerful tool in this fight against violence is information and cooperation from the community,” said Evans. “It is in times of crisis that we see the true heroes of our community and this is a time of crisis. We need our own local heroes to rise to the occasion. These are your neighborhoods, these are your children we are trying to protect.”

After 30 days, the proclamation and the expanded powers that come with it could be renewed if the violence patterns in city neighborhoods have not shown progress.

From January to June, Rochester saw a record high 28 victims of firearm homicides. The most recent incident, along North Clinton Avenue, left two dead and one injured. While 2021 was a particularly violent year, 2022 could outpace it.

“We know these shootings are directly tied to a deadly cycle of disputes and retaliations and we will do all we can to disrupt these disputes before they reach critical mass,” Evans said.

Only hours after Evans declared the state of emergency, two Rochester Police Department officers were shot by a male assailant in the Bauman Street and Laser Street area.

Officers Tony Mazurkiewicz and Sino Seng were gathering intelligence for an ongoing murder investigation. The attacker shot Mazurkiewicz, who died from his wounds, twice in the upper body. Seng, who was shot once in the lower body, is recovering.

Kelvin Vickers, 21, of Boston was later found hiding in a second-floor crawl space and taken into custody, and the weapon used to shoot Mazurkiewicz and Seng was recovered, police say. Vickers has been charged with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, second-degree assault, and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Jacob Schermerhorn is a Rochester Beacon contributing writer. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

3 thoughts on “Evans declares gun violence state of emergency

  1. If Mayor Evans wants to get serious he should immediately institute a stop & frisk policy in violent crime areas, jail without bail illegal gun violators, open up closed prisons, and build new prisons.

  2. Perhaps I missed it, but it seems to me that two important questions were left unanswered in this article.

    1) Exactly what actions did the mayor take with his emergency powers that he couldn’t take before?

    2) Why didn’t he utilize those emergency powers one or two or three months ago?

  3. The question you have to ask yourself is,….why is there so much gun violence? When you finally embrace that answer you will have discovered that the k-12 educational journey is beyond broken. It will take a massive effort to redesign the current system. That system is failing Rochester. All those involved are drop outs. None of them have any skills. Therefor are not employable. They are lost to the street.
    Address the education issue. Bring back an Edison Technical and Industrial high school of old. Look back and see what that school did for Rochesters youth back in the day.

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