Prayer vigil held to remember victims of double homicide

(WHAM Photo)

ROCHESTER, NY (WHAM) - A sudden spike in violence across the city left two men dead after a shooting on Wilkins Street Thursday afternoon.

Rochester police said 24-year-old Markwaun Williams and 26-year-old Justin Siler were both attacked on Wilkins Street.

Then, just hours later someone opened fire on 20-year-old Gregory Williams and 22-year-old Jaquan Fields near Genesee and Hawley streets. Williams is in guarded condition.

On Friday night, the community came together on Wilkins Street to pray for the families impacted by the double homicide.

It's a pain too hard to talk about or come to terms with for Justin Siler's friend.

She was sitting alongside a memorial made to remember the man she said was a dedicated father.

"It's important for those families and friends to know that although we did not know your child, that was our child too," said Toni Nelson, who attended Friday's prayer vigil.

"We're fed up . We can't take no more," chanted the group that gathered together encouraging others to join them in prayer.

Many of the community members at the vigil were angered by the violence that took these two lives.

"The pain is felt throughout the community, not by just one family," said Nelson.

She knows what these two families are going through right now because she lost her son, Michael, in 2014.

"He was 24-years-old. He was murdered in his sleep on Chili Avenue," she said.

She, like others, wanted to unite around the grieving families to pray for them. "We try to show the community that they are not alone," said Isabel Rosa, part of the Save Our Youth Program.

After Thursday's violence, the interim Rochester Police Chief, Mark Simmons, said the department is increasing patrols.

"Rochester police is coming for you. This will not stand," he said at a news conference earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, billboards are plastered throughout the city, backed by Public Safety Chairman Willie Lightfoot with an important message. Written on them: "A shot from a gun can't be undone."

"Think about what you're doing, think about the consequences, think about who you can be and what you can be," he said.

"This violence is ongoing, so we are ongoing about eradicating it in our efforts," he added.

He said the billboards will be up for about 30 days, but he has plans on bringing them back again next summer.

Police have not made any arrests in Thursday's shootings. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 429-9300.

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