Elijah Ross stood watch last Friday by the candles, flowers, liquor bottles and balloons at a memorial for his 31-year-old friend, Eric Ruise, among the latest victims of a murder spree gripping the city of Rochester, New York.
It had been two days since Ruise was gunned down in a barrage of bullets, from multiple shooters, outside a pharmacy. Ruise had been recently released from prison. He had committed, Ross said, to be a better father to his 10-year-old daughter, Jumyria.
“It makes no sense,” said Ross, 34, adding that no witnesses have stepped forward in the “broad daylight” murder. “This is the streets, the “hood.”
As Ross spoke, Jumyria’s mother picked up litter around the makeshift memorial. Such tributes have become a common sight in the poorer neighborhoods of Rochester, a city of 206,000 people in the northwestern part of the state. And the bloodshed in Rochester reflects a wave of violence in cities nationwide since last year.
With 34 homicides already this year, Rochester is on pace for a record-high 70 murders in 2021 – a per-capita rate that exceeds Chicago, one of America’s most violent large cities. Among cities with fewer than 500,000 people, Rochester saw the third-largest jump in its per-capita rate during the 12 months ending in April, according to americanviolence.org, a crime-mapping website led by Patrick Sharkey, a Princeton University sociology professor. Only New Orleans and Oakland saw bigger increases. Read more…