FULL COVERAGE: Live Midland Shooting Report
By Jishnu Nair – Syracuse, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – At least three suspects are currently on the loose after shooting five people on the 1300 block of Midland Avenue on Thursday night. People were gathered at a house on that block for a celebration to honor a relative who died of cancer.
Several 911 calls were made to the emergency center and Syracuse Police responded just after 9 p.m. However, no alerts were sent out by Syracuse University’s Department of Public Safety. Additionally, the university has not released any response or alerts regarding the situation.
First responders rushed the youngest victim, an 8-year-old girl, to hospital for treatment. A Syracuse Police Department spokesman says that all five victims are currently in critical but stable condition at Upstate Medical Hospital, and all of them are expected to make a full recovery.
Speaking at the scene of the incident, Chief of Police Frank Fowler called the mass shooting a “tragic event.”
“This is something that cannot occur at our community,” Fowler told reporters Thursday night.
Mayor Ben Walsh was also on the scene last night speaking to reporters alongside Fowler. Witnesses on the scene told CitrusTV reporters that they applauded Walsh’s presence.
“We’re surrounded by human beings, by neighbors, by family members,” Walsh said. “They’re hurting.”
Police finished evidence collection Friday morning and departed the scene. No update has been given on the suspects’ locations, numbers or potential identities.
Family member Elise Baker was celebrating her father Richard Harris’ life in the yard when the shooting began. Baker said that the family was not allowed to stay in their house for the rest of the night.
Witness Lynere Middlebrooks told CitrusTV reporters that she heard ten shots going off initially. Police investigators were searching a house across the street from the vigil, where the shooters are believed to have emerged from.
“When the first pop went off I thought it was little fire crackers,” Middlebrooks said. “Then I saw the [gun]fire.”
Middlebrooks, who is pregnant, was thrown to the ground by police for being “rowdy” when the police arrived. She was contacting her son to let him know that she was alright.
Chief Fowler urged anyone with information to use the SPD Tips app or to call the department’s hotline at 315-442-5222. When asked about potential gang violence, police would neither confirm nor deny that any had taken place.
Midland Avenue has seen its fair share of gang tragedies, however. Thursday night’s shooting happened at the same residence where a 20-month-old boy was murdered in 2010 due to gang violence.
A prayer vigil for the Thursday night shooting was held the following Friday at 6:30 pm. The event was hosted by Pastor Nitch Jones of Believer’s Chapel Church. Balloons, candles and posters were welcome as protesters gathered at the corner of Onondaga and Tallman Avenues.
In his Facebook post announcing the vigil, Jones said “We want to make our voices heard. These acts of violence must stop.”
For more updates on the shooting and vigil, check out CitrusTV News’ live reports from Midland Avenue.