Two people were killed and 14 people were hospitalized in Rochester, New York in a mass shooting at a backyard party.
Police responded to the shooting on the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue at around 12:25 p.m. About 100 people ran wildly around a "very chaotic scene," said Acting Police Chief Mark Simmons.
Investigators are still trying to find out who opened fire and why. Simmons said it was too early to say if more than one person shot or who the intended targets might have been.
It comes just five days after Simmons took over the post of top cop after his predecessor was ousted after weeks of protests against Black Lives Matter and riot over the death of Daniel Prude, who was fatally injured when he was arrested in March.
Acting chief of police in Rochester, Mark Simmons, briefs the press on a shooting that killed two people and injured 14 at a house party early Saturday. He was only appointed five days ago
& # 39; We have 16 confirmed victims of shootings. And I am sad to announce that two of these 16 have suffered a fatal wound, ”Simmons said at a press conference.
A man and woman, estimated to be in their late teens or early 20s, were killed, Simmons said. It was believed that none of the wounded had life-threatening injuries. You were treated in two local hospitals.
"This is truly a tragedy of epic proportions," Simmons said at a press conference near the house. "I mean, 16 victims are unknown, and for our community, which is going through so much right now, it is unfortunate and shameful to have to deal with this tragedy unnecessarily because of people who choose to act violently." and we will do everything we can to bring those involved to justice. & # 39;
Simmons said it was unclear whether the shooting was deliberate or random violence. The wounded were treated in hospital and their injuries were not considered life threatening.
Police said several dozen shots were fired in the shooting. One The witness told WHAM-TV that the gunfire sounded like a "total war zone".
"So many people are going in so many directions, in so many different ways, driving on the lawn and trying to get out of here," said Billy, who refused to give his last name.
The police responded to the shooting at around 12:25 p.m. About 100 people ran wildly around a "very chaotic scene," said Acting Police Chief Mark Simmons
The shooting comes when the city's police department was rocked by days of protests against Prude's death, caused when officials pulled a hood over his head to keep him from spitting and then pushed his face on the sidewalk until they did noticed that he had stopped breathing.
On Monday, the city's mayor fired Police Chief La'Ron Singletary, who had initially misled her about the circumstances surrounding her death. Other high-ranking police officers have announced that they will be retiring or leaving the top positions of command.
Simmons expressed frustration early Saturday that someone in the turmoil had held a large late-night party, apparently despite a state ban on large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is another tragedy where individuals are throwing these illegal, unapproved house parties in these properties which – number one – are not safe due to COVID due to the conditions. And then you add alcohol and violence and it just becomes a recipe for disaster, ”Simmons said.
Investigators are still trying to find out who opened fire and why. Simmons said it was too early to say if more than one person shot
Officers responded to gunfire and found "about 100 people" running from the scene, Simmons said. Prior to the call, police were unaware of the party and have received no complaints about noise, he said.
The acting chief said no suspects are in custody, but there is no reason to believe the neighborhood is unsafe.
The names of the two people killed were not immediately released.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren issued a statement asking for "prayers and support for all concerned," according to WHEC-TV.
"I ask everyone to keep calm and exercise deep restraint while RPD investigates what happened here and seeks those responsible," she said.