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Shooting at Father’s Day party in Syracuse leaves one dead, police officer discharges gun

The New York State Attorney General’s Office is now involved in the investigation of an officer-related shooting that occurred in Syracuse over the weekend. A 41-year-old man is dead and officers and bystanders were injured at a Father’s Day party that turned unruly on Sunday night.

Police were tipped off that there could be a shooting at an event that eventually made its way into the James Geddes public rowhouses on Syracuse’s Near West Side. An officer responded after hearing shots fired, ultimately having to discharge her gun. Two people were shot including the man who died and a woman who was injured. Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said it is still under investigation as to who shot them.

“We’re talking about more than one person, firing their weapons in a small, highly populated residential area," Fowler said. "It becomes extremely chaotic. When someone is shooting at someone else it is a deadly physical force situation and in that instance the officer is required to react, respond, intervene and take life saving steps to stop that person's actions. That officer is on administrative leave until such time that the investigation is concluded. Not just our investigation, the district attorney's office at a minimal will conduct an investigation and maybe the state attorney general's office depending on information." 

Multiple shots were fired from at least four different handguns in different locations. When more police arrived on scene, some in the crowd of more than 100 people began throwing rocks and bottles at officers.
Fowler said he and the father of Gary Porter, the man who died, will make a joint statement when the father returns to Syracuse. Fowler said more information will be released at that time.

On Monday morning, police still remained on the scene. Keionia Torrance, 16, lives a few blocks away in the neighborhood that not only has some of the highest concentration of poverty in the city, but tens of millions of dollars in new investment as well.

“Sadly enough, it happens every year,” Torrance said, talking about the shooting.

Mary Anne McClusky also lives there and came home a little bit after the shooting.

“We saw a helicopter buzzing around the sky and cop cars everywhere," McClusky said. "I was terrified.”  

With the Fourth of July coming up, McClusky said she is worried she will not be able to tell the difference between fireworks and gunshots.

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.