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Syracuse Father's Day shooting: 11 arrests for inciting a riot, 2 still wanted, 37 shots fired

Tom Magnarelli
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick at a press conference regarding the arrests for inciting a riot.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick announced that 11 people have been arrested for inciting a riot at the Father’s Day shooting in Syracuse, during which an officer fired her gun and one man was killed. The officer responded to a shootout that included 37 shots fired from multiple guns, turning a large block party into chaos.

Fitzpatrick said during the shootout, Officer Kelsey Francemone fired her gun, 41-year-old man Gary Porter was shot and Francemone requested medical treatment to assist him. While waiting for additional officers and paramedics to arrive, a crowd surrounded and attacked Francemone. They kicked and pushed her to the ground, tried to rip off parts of her uniform and take her gun.

Fitzpatrick said when responding officers arrived, the crowd began shoving them, pulling on their uniforms, yelling in officers’ faces and spitting on them. Officers and civilians were injured; a sergeant was bit on the arm. Later in the night, officers had liquor bottles, rocks, trash and parts of a bicycle thrown at them.

Fitzpatrick described it as nothing short of a war zone.

“What they did to that officer and what they did to her responding brother and sister officers is a disgrace and stain on every peace-loving person in this community,” Fitzpatrick said. “The scene I just described didn’t occur in Fallujah or Mogadishu, it occurred here in Syracuse, New York. This conduct is not going to be tolerated, ever.”

Two others are still wanted for inciting a riot that night.

"We are going to pursue all 13 of these individuals to the fullest extent of the law and anyone else we are able to identify," Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick said there is a difference between engaging in freedom of speech and some of the threatening comments he said were made.

“You can yell things at police officers,” Fitzpatirck said. “You can’t yell ‘let it rain on the pigs, we have guns too, let’s kill the cops.’ That crosses a threshold, that’s shouting, ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”

The charges are felonies punishable by up to four years in state prison. A grand jury investigation into the circumstance of Officer Francemone firing her gun is ongoing, but Fitzpatirck said they are getting closer to successfully completing the case. He said in the 40 years he has been a prosecutor, the situation involving Francemone was unlike anything he has seen. 

"A police officer responded to a scene, ran through a surging crowd who was running the other way and her sole purpose was to protect the innocent individuals who were being caught in a crossfire of gangs," Fitzpatrick said. "It's sickening."

The New York State Attorney General's Office is no longer involved in the investigation of the shooting because it was determined that Porter, the man who was killed, was armed and the office does not have jurisdiction. The state attorney general gets involved in officer shootings of unarmed civilians.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.