During the last two weeks, UR students have received e-mail notifications about gunshots fired north of Riverview Apartments. Details are emerging about the nature of these shootings and how close to home they are for the 19th Ward community.
There have been three reports of shots fired in the last two weeks, all centralized around the 1000 blocks of South Plymouth Ave. In one of these incidents, a man was shot from outside while sitting in his apartment. Though police do not believe that this shooting was random, it is also not believed to be related to the other two incidents.
According to Public Information Officer for the Rochester Police Department LaRon Singletary, no one was hit during the other two shootings, which police do believe are related. Two of the people involved in these shootings are known gang members familiar to the police.
Police are stepping up their presence not only in the immediate area of the incidents, but across the 19th Ward as a whole. A police van was parked outside the suspected gang member’s house but has since left.
According to Singletary, additional uniformed officers have been delegated to the entire 19th Ward, both on foot and in patrol cars. The officers have been instructed to engage the public for information, as well as to identify and disperse individuals hanging around corners in the hope of starting to make arrests.
The 19th Ward Community Association holds monthly meetings between concerned citizens and an officer with the Rochester Police Department.
Residents at last night’s meeting wanted to know why this was the first time they had seen such a significant police response to shootings in the area.
Officer Kristen Runyon attributed this response to the RPD’s belief that these
shootings could have potentially grown into a larger gang dispute.
‘Often times the individuals do belong to some gang,” Singletary said. ‘The conflict often arises due to some dispute that occurred, and unfortunately it leads to means of resolve that include gunplay.”
In general, most of the gangs in the Rochester are not as organized as gangs in other parts of the country. Members often claim to represent an area or street in or around the city.
According to Singletary, no names of suspects have been released yet and the current police investigation is ongoing.