ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Gunfire at a large, late-night house party, held in defiance of state law, led to the deaths of two people and injuries to 14 others, according to the Rochester Police Department.
Police said at least 100 people were seen running as officers arrived at the scene of the party sometime after 12:30 a.m., WROC reported.
Investigators said a man and woman in their teens or early 20s were killed. Their identities have not been released. The other 14 victims were not believed to have suffered life-threatening injuries. They were between the ages of 17 and 23. Their identities have also not been released.
“This is truly a tragedy of epic proportions,” said Mark Simmons, RPD’s interim police chief during a news conference. “Sixteen victims is unheard of, and for our community, who’s right now going through so much, to have to be dealt with this tragedy, needlessly, for people who decide to act in a violent manner is unfortunate and shameful.”
No suspects are yet in custody. Despite this, Simmons said the neighborhood is safe.
The city already is being rocked by violence in the wake of the death of Daniel Prude in March. He suffocated while in police custody. The details of Prude’s death came to light earlier this month, igniting daily protests.
“I’m begging everyone to remain calm and exercise deep restraint as RPD investigates what happened here and seeks those responsible,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said in a statement.
Simmons was frustrated about the large late night gathering, held in defiance of state law banning such events because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is yet another tragedy where individuals are having these illegal, unsanctioned house parties taking place in these properties, which — number one — is not safe because of COVID,” Simmons said. “And then you add in alcohol and violence and it just becomes a recipe for disaster.”
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