The deadly shooting of a veteran Rochester cop late Thursday was a “cowardly ambush” that came just hours after the upstate city was put under a state of emergency over gun crime.
Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz, a 29-year veteran of the force, was shot dead during the attack late Thursday, Chief David Smith announced at a press conference early Friday.
Mazurkiewicz’s partner, eight-year veteran Sino Seng, was also shot in the lower body and has already been discharged from a hospital, the chief said.
A woman bystander, who was not identified, was also hit and treated at the scene for non-life-threatening injuries.
Even before the officer’s death was announced, Mayor Malik Evans had called it a “tragedy for our community” — and noted how it came just hours after he had declared a state of emergency.
“The tragic gun violence in Rochester must come to an end,” he said late Thursday.
“Today, we declared a gun violence emergency in our community and this shooting is proof that we are indeed in an emergency.”
The police chief grew emotional as he recalled how after Thursday’s declaration, he’d been asked, “how dangerous is it out there for the officers of the Rochester Police Department?”
“My response was that every day the men and women of this department leave their home not knowing if they will return to see their families at the end of their shift,” he said.
“Ten hours later, Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz — a father, a husband and a 29-year veteran of the Rochester Police Department — was killed in the line of duty.”
The hero cop and his partner “were attacked in a cowardly ambush and fell victim to the very violence in our community that we are trying to combat,” Smith said.
The mayor called the deadly ambush “a clarion call for this community to speak up” about gun crime.
“It was Tony Mazurkiewicz today. But it could be any of us in this room tomorrow,” he said.
It was not immediately clear if there had been any arrests. However, the police chief vowed that “the full force of the region’s law enforcement … is being utilized to bring whoever is responsible for this heinous act to justice.”
In his press conference earlier Thursday, the mayor said the state of emergency was needed because of “carnage” in the city.
Last year’s 81 homicides were the most ever in the city, eclipsing a record that had stood for nearly 30 years, the Democrat & Chronicle noted.
Even before Thursday’s ambush, there had been more than 40 homicides with 202 people shot, Evans noted in his emergency presser.
“The trajectory, unless we change something, will be the same” as last year’s painful tally, Evans said.
“We will break records in terms of the bloodshed and carnage in our streets.”