ROCHESTER, NY – As Kelvin Vickers entered a plea of not guilty Saturday morning in the murder of one police officer and the wounding of another, colleagues, family and friends of the victims packed the courtroom.
Career criminal Vickers, 21, charged with murdering Rochester Police Department Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz and wounding Officer Sino Seng, had last lived in Brockton, Massachusetts, a suburb 25 miles north of Boston and 400 miles from Rochester.
Police pack courtroom for arraignment of man charged in death of Rochester officer https://t.co/dXBRKdulBZ
— Democrat & Chronicle (@DandC) July 23, 2022
At least 24 members of RPD’s tactical unit attended the arraignment, which lasted 10 minutes. Dozens of friends and family members sat in the front row, and dozens more officers from both RPD and the Monroe County Sheriff’s office filled the courtroom.
There did not appear to be anyone in the courtroom in support of Vickers, according to reports.
Why would this man from out of state ambush Rochester police officers? The two men who were targeted were in plainclothes while on duty in an unmarked car. Did Vickers know they were police officers?
WHEC anchor and investigative reporter Deanna Dewberry asked those questions at the press conference Friday held to announce Vickers’ arrest.
Friday night @RochesterNYPD officers along with @nyspolice Troopers, and an Ambulance Crew from @AMRROCPIO got together and paid tribute to the fallen RPD Officer by parading a caravan through the city. @13WHAM @FoxRochester @ROCHNYCRIMEINFO @mcfw #ROC pic.twitter.com/IigqbuqTMh
— Ben Vahey (@Ben_Vahey) July 23, 2022
Police officials said they couldn’t answer, citing the sensitivity of the investigation.
But this is known: Thursday night’s fatal shooting was not Vickers’ first brush with the law. Vickers is a young man with a long rap sheet, said RPD Captain Frank Umbrino. He added:
“The suspect is from Massachusetts, the Boston area, and he has an extensive criminal background.”
Vickers’ crimes began when he was just a child, with police reporting that he was 12 when he faced charges of assault and battery on an officer.
Before his 18th birthday, Vickers would face a host of charges for burglary-related offenses, strangulation with a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon, as well as two separate possession-of-firearms offenses.
When he was 18, he was convicted of possessing an unlicensed firearm.
Now, at 21 years old, Vickers is charged with a heinous crime: sneaking up on the unmarked car and hiding behind shrubs as he sprayed the vehicle with bullets.
Seng was struck once in one of his legs and was able to exit the van and return fire. The suspect was not shot and ran from the scene, police said.
Police located the suspect hiding in the second-story crawl space of a vacant house and was taken into custody without incident. A loaded Glock 45 9mm handgun was found with Vickers, which police said was the gun used in the shooting, based on preliminary testing.
Vickers is being charged with 2nd degree murder, 2nd degree attempted murder, 2nd degree assault, and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the 2nd degree.
More than a hundred uniformed members of the Rochester Police Department packed the courtroom for the arraignment.
Vickers, dressed in a pink jumpsuit and with shackles on his hands and feet, was surrounded by jail deputies as he was brought into court. He did not speak, other than to say “yes, sir” in response to questions from Rochester City Court Judge Van White.
Haley Werner, an attorney with the Monroe County Public Defender’s office, represented Vickers at the arraignment. She indicated that her office would be representing him, although the defendant said he intended to seek a private defense attorney.
A career criminal has stolen a precious Police Officer from our community. We hope RPD’s intense investigation will secure justice for Officers Mazurkiewicz and Seng.
— Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (@monroesheriffny) July 22, 2022
Judge White ordered Vickers held without bail in the Monroe County Jail and a preliminary hearing was set for July 27. Assistant District Attorney Monica O’Brien noted that the case would be presented to a grand jury, which would have the final say on charges.
RPD Chief David Smith and Mayor Malik Evans spoke Friday at an 8 a.m. press conference at the public safety building.
Officials said that at 9:19 p.m., a lone male ambushed the two officers and shot them while outside 67 Baumann St. in the city’s northeast neighborhood. The officers were conducting surveillance as part of RPD’s tactical unit at the time they were shot.
Smith called the deadly shooting a “cowardly ambush,” and said Mazurkiewicz and Seng “fell victim to the very violence in our community that we are trying to combat.”
Mazurkiewicz, a husband and father, was taken to University of Rochester Medical Center, where he died at 11:24 p.m. from at least one gunshot wound to the upper body. He was a 29-year veteran of Rochester Police Department.
— Berkeley Brean (@whec_bbrean) July 23, 2022
Seng, an eight-year veteran of the force, was struck once in the leg and was treated and released from Rochester General Hospital and is now recovering at home.
Police said that a 15-year-old girl was hit by a stray bullet that went through a wall in her house. She was treated for her injuries, which were not life-threatening.
Chief Smith said that more than 13 police agencies responded to the scene and helped to canvass the area surrounding the shooting and that the investigation is still active.
Where’s the media? Skyrocketing number of police officers being ambushed, shot and murdered so far in 2022
June 18, 2022
We are only 5 1/2 months into 2022. We have already seen at least 156 officers shot this year, with 24 of them succumbing to their injuries, according to figures provided to Fox News by the Fraternal Order of Police.
The Officer Down Memorial Page has the number of confirmed 2022 line-of-duty shooting deaths at 26.
Both websites include El Monte Police officers Cpl. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana, who were allegedly shot and killed by a gang member with a prior record that included a conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
More than 150 police officers shot so far this year, records show https://t.co/rqKFE6VN2U
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 16, 2022
“Criminals feel free to engage in crime,” said Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, spokesperson for the National Police Association and a retired officer with nearly three decades of experience. “You see videos all over TikTok and Instagram, where criminals are doing things, and they appear to have no fear of the police, of a security guard, of a store manager, none of that.”
Many believe that left-leaning district attorneys have a lot to do with the number of criminals on the street who commit more violent crimes as they await trial.
Case in point, the suspect in the killing of the two El Monte officers, Justin Flores, likely should have been in jail. But Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon’s office said:
“The sentence he received in the firearm case was consistent with case resolutions for this type of offense given his criminal history and the nature of the offense. At the time the court sentenced him, Mr. Flores did not have a documented history of violence.”
He certainly has a documented history now, if convicted, and there are two families grieving over the death of these officers.
But many believe that the assault on law enforcement is a direct result of the violent “defund” movement posing under the guise of BLM and Antifa.
“We’re in the third year of the war on cops, the renewed war on cops in a post-Serial Criminal George Floyd world,” Brantner Smith said. “And then we have these ‘woke’ prosecutors who are not keeping people in jail.”
She believes that the two suspects responsible for the last three slayings should have been behind bars.
“Had they been in prison, these three cops would still be alive,” she said.
We have an archive of stories we have published over the past few years that identify numerous officers shot to death in the line of duty.
Many of them we killed by someone that probably should have been locked up. Instead, criminal justice reform has continued to put violent offenders back on the streets, where they continue to commit acts of violence.
According to the stats provided by the FOP, there have been 27 ambush-style attacks this year, with 42 officers being shot, and six dying of their gunshot wounds.
Continue to use Flores as the example, an unidentified source within the LACDA’s office, told Fox News that had he been tried under standard procedure, he would have likely been sentenced to around 3 years.
Instead, he was tried and convicted under a “blanket directive.”
Whether it is a DA, a politician or a random group of cop-hating protestors, police officers are forced to navigate this false narrative that the left is pushing so hard. Law enforcement is fighting an uphill battle with a much steeper grade than previously experienced.
“We’ve got to fight the false narrative that American law enforcement is a danger to our communities,” Smith said. “San Francisco recalled Chesa Boudin, and now there’s a big movement afoot in Los Angeles to recall George Gascon. I think this may be a trend now… I think we may see a trend politically that this is what’s going to happen.
In the meantime, cops are dying. We’re getting ambushed, we’re getting injured, and it’s not just fatal shootings. Most police officers who are attacked don’t die, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have life-altering, career-ending injuries.”
Sadly, we are on pace to set records for the number of law enforcement officers that are being shot and/or killed. We are on pace to see 375 officers shot by the end of the year, with close to 60 of those losing their life in the line of duty.
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Author: Cynthia Van Gaasbeck
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