ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Three people are dead afterseven people were shot after a basketball game at a Rochester Boys and Girls Club late Wednesday night.
“A car drove by and at least one of the occupants in the car fired shots from the car into the crowd that had gathered after a basketball game at the Boys and Girls Club,” said Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli.
Police responded to the scene on Genesee Street at 11:19 p.m. after receiving multiple 911 calls.
“Police are trying to process what happened here last night,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. “Somebody made a decision last night that they were going to end some lives. That person that made that decision, we are going to bring them to justice.”
Two of the three people killed have been identified.
Melody Scott, who was at the scene Thursday morning, said her 17-year-old nephew, Jonah Barley, was one of the three people killed. She said he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ciminelli said that there was no problem at the Boys and Girls Club. The problem did not seem to stem from the basketball game, he said. “It is still subject to change,” he said.
The four injured are males, aged 20 to 29. Medical personnel didn’t believe that any of their wounds appear to be life-threatening, said Capt. Michael Callari of the police department. They were all taken to local hospitals.
“We have a very active investigation going,” Ciminelli said. “We are bringing every resource that we have to bear on this. We will run this down and found out who did this. This was an outrageous act. We intend to find out who did it and bring them to justice.”
Doug Ackley, the director of Rochester Programs for the Center for Teen Empowerment, said 19-year-old Raekwon Manigault worked for him in his program for the past few months.
“Rae was a sweet guy. We’ve known him for years and we loved him. He was part of our group,” said Ackley.
Manigault had been meeting almost daily with other staff and employees working on upcoming projects.
He had told Ackley when he applied for the job that he wanted to work for Teen Empowerment because “it was time to make some changes in his life.”
Ackley said Manigault was well-known and well-liked in the youth community and he had seen nothing recently that would have indicated Manigault would get caught up in the shooting Wednesday.
“We had just been talking to him about continuing to work in the right direction, being part of the next (Teen Empowerment) group and use his voice and his own past experience to save other people’s lives and change lives,” Ackley said.
Capt. Lynde Johnston, who heads the major crimes unit, said he doesn’t recall a shooting in the city with seven victims — counting the wounded and deceased — for the decades he has been on the force.
“I don’t remember one, and that’s searching 50 years,” he said.
A shooting spree of similar scope occurred in a crowded bar in Gates, N.Y., on April 25, leaving one man dead and six other bar patrons wounded.
In the warm, muggy early morning hours, hundreds of people milled about the street, some weeping, hugging and talking with neighbors in the aftermath of the violence. Others could be seen weeping into the arms of family members.
Michael Cotton, a Rochester resident, said he knew one of the deceased. “We were mutual friends. We always spoke when we saw each other.”
He added, “Of course, it hurts. That’s somebody that I speak to on a daily basis. That’s going to affect me for a little while. This is not my first one. It’s kind of ridiculous now. You see how many people are out here. I’m sure the people that did see something aren’t going to talk or anything, because they’re just too loyal.
“I really don’t know how I feel about this situation. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. Right now, just looking at everything, all the lights, all the cops, all you guys reporting, it’s just a shock, because I’ve been in this area for a while and seven people getting shot, that’s close to a massacre. Seriously. We have to do better. We do as people, we have to do better. We have to do much better.”
Toni Nelson, of Rochester, went to the shooting scene after hearing about it on the news. She said her son was the victim of violence, too.
“I don’t know any of them but I care … it’s my neighborhood,” she said. “This is terrorism on our streets.”
The Rev. Lewis W. Stewart, president of the United Christian Leadership Ministry of Western New York, said schools must do a better job at teaching emphasis on non-violence, anti-bullying and respect for lives.
“Black lives must matter not just when law enforcement officers take a life, but when another black person takes a life,” he said.
Stewart said his group will host a prayer vigil Friday in front of the Boys and Girls Club.
“Many folks don’t want to speak about it, but there’s a gang on Jay Street, there’s a gang around here, so we do have a gang problem and that was more than likely some sort of gang initiation tact that was used,” Stewart said.
Some shots hit walls and windows at the Jordan Health Center, which is next to the Boys and Girls Club. In a statement, health center officials said they shared the grief of the families of the victims and would be rescheduling patients with appointments to other locations.