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What we know about a deadly shooting in Rochester, New York

Two people are dead and 16 injured after a shooting at a party. No suspects have been taken into custody.

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

Two people were killed and at least 16 others injured in a shooting at a party in Rochester, New York, on Saturday morning, according to police reports.

The shooting took place at what authorities described as an “illegal, unsanctioned house [party]” shortly after midnight, with the attendee count exceeding coronavirus restrictions. Rochester police responded to the scene. Authorities reported that there were multiple rounds of gunfire. So far, no suspects have been identified or taken into custody, and an investigation is underway.

“16 victims is unheard of,” interim police chief Mark Simmons said at a press conference Saturday morning. “For our community, who is right now going through so much, to have to be dealt [this] tragedy needlessly ... it’s shameful, and we’re going to do everything we can as a department to bring those people involved to justice.”

The shooting comes amid protests in Rochester throughout September over the recently revealed role of police in the death of Daniel Prude in March. Body camera footage of police restricting the breathing of Prude, who was in emotional distress but nonviolent, ultimately led to the firing of the city’s police chief, and the resignation of top-ranking police officials.

This is a developing story. Here’s what we know, and don’t, so far.

  • ABC affiliate WHAM reported that the shooting took place in a residential neighborhood.
  • Two people, both approximately between the ages of 18 and 22, were fatally wounded at the scene.
  • 14 others were shot, sustaining non-life-threatening injuries — all were hospitalized. Additionally, two people were reportedly injured while fleeing the scene.
  • Police reported the shooter fired “several dozen” rounds into the crowd of partygoers.
  • The party, according to Simmons, was held in violation of Covid-19 regulations. “This is yet another tragedy,” he said at the Saturday press conference, “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 described the shooting as “chaotic,” with approximately 100 people scattering across the scene by the time police arrived. One witness described the shooting to WHAM as “an all-out war zone.”
  • Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren released a statement on the shooting, asking the community for “prayers and support,” and “begging everyone to remain calm and exercise deep restraint as RPD investigates what happened here and seeks those responsible.”
  • Authorities have not identified any connection between the shooting and the protests. So far there’s no known motive, and it’s unclear if more than one perpetrator was involved.

What we don’t know

  • The identity of the shooter
  • The motivation of the shooter
  • The names of the victims