A mass shooting in Rochester, New York, overnight has left two people dead and at least 14 others injured, WHAM-TV reports.
Gunfire erupted around 12:25 a.m. Saturday at a backyard party. Police officers who first arrived at the gathering described a chaotic scene with about 100 people outside.
The deceased are a man and woman between 18 and 22 years of age, Acting Rochester Police Chief Mark Simmons told the television station. The other victims are between 17 and 23 years of age.
“This is truly a tragedy of epic proportions if you ask me,” Simmons said at a press conference.
“I mean, 16 victims is unheard of. For our community, who is right now going through so much, to have to be dealt [this] tragedy needlessly because of people who decide to act in a violent manner, is unfortunate, it’s shameful, and we’re going to do everything we can as a department to bring those people involved to justice.”
At least a few dozen rounds of bullets were fired, making it sound like “an all-out war zone,” a witness told WHAM-TV.
“Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, for 10 minutes maybe,” another witness, named Billy, told the television station. “People running from every which way. You don’t know who’s who; everyone’s got a mask on. You don’t know what [is] going on out here.”
Multiple RPD technician units leaving the scene. pic.twitter.com/3jpNY81C3F
— Tyler Brown 13 WHAM (@tbrown13WHAM) September 19, 2020
He added, “So many people going in so many directions, so many different ways, driving on the grass, trying to get out of here.”
Victims’ names have not yet been released. Those who were injured do not appear to be life-threatening wounds, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.
Thus far there is no indication that the shooting is tied to protests that have shaken the city over the death of Daniel Prude, who died while being restrained by police.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren urged residents to cooperate with police since the backyard shooting.
“I’m begging everyone to remain calm and exercise deep restraint as RPD investigates what happened here and seeks those responsible,” Warren said in a written statement.
Simmons told reporters that the gathering was a “recipe for disaster.”
“This is yet another tragedy where individuals are having these illegal, unsanctioned house parties taking place on these properties which, number one, is not safe because of COVID, because of the conditions, and then you add in alcohol and violence and it becomes a recipe for disaster,” Simmons said.
No arrests have yet been made.
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[Feature Photo: Pixabay]