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Recent shootings connected to social media generated "pop-up parties"

Posted at 6:48 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 18:49:07-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Police and the Stop The Violence Coalition are seeing a connection: shootings at what are known as pop up parties.

“A party turns out to be terrible. Four people shot. It seems to be the norm,” Murray Holman, executive director of the Stop The Violence Coalition, said.

Early Saturday morning, five people were shot and one died after a shooting at a pop-up party near Jefferson and Glenwood. Rochester police were investigating a shooting at a party where 16 were shot and two died around the same time Saturday. Those shootings came just three days after two people were shot and one person was killed during a pop-up party on Ashley Avenue.

“They occur in fields. They occur on the waterfront. They occur down on empty lots on the East side. They're in all four corners of the city," Deputy Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said.

"Two hundred, three hundred people gathering having a great time and then different territories or areas and beef come out of that," Holman said.

Holman said it all starts on social media. The party location circulates, then people who find out who ends up going to the party. Holman said if there's someone an individual that has a problem with someone there, they'll go too. He said that's when the shootings occur.

Holman and police said the issue with these pop-up parties is once they find out about them and get to the scene and go and break them up, everyone just moves somewhere else.

“This past weekend we had a shooting with five people and one murder. That was the third location of that same traveling group. The police department broke up the first two gatherings," Gramaglia said.

That's why Holman said everyone involved needs to be held accountable, including the social media sites where the word about these parties gets out.

“It really has to come to not just the shooter but the people who had the party but the social media outlet that pushed the party. The landlord has to come on...The tenants that rent the property,” Holman said.

A representative for the landlord of the house where the shooting occured on Ashley Avenue said that's what the landlord is trying to do. The property is supposed to be vacant, but there are people living there illegally. The landlord's representative says following Wednesday's shooting, the landlord is attempting to clear the property with a Motion to Vacate Order.

Police have not made any arrests in either shooting.