Suspect in custody after N.Y. officer killed, partner shot in 'cowardly ambush'
The suspect allegedly fired 17 rounds into the officers' car
By Jackson Cote
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Police say a Massachusetts man was responsible for a shooting that left an officer dead as well as a second officer and a teenage girl injured in Rochester, New York late Thursday.
Kelvin Vickers, a 21-year-old Boston man, is accused of killing Officer Anthony “Tony” Mazurkiewicz, a 29-year veteran of the Rochester Police Department, and injuring fellow Rochester police Officer Sino Seng, an eight-year veteran, in what the department called a “cowardly ambush.” The attack left a 15-year-old girl wounded as well.
Within an hour after the shooting, officers from communities across Monroe County who were searching for the shooter found him in a vacant building, according to law enforcement. He was charged with single counts of second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and second-degree assault as well as two counts of criminal possession of a firearm in the second degree.
Vickers’ criminal history, authorities say, includes juvenile charges for assault and battery on an officer at age 12, burglary-related offenses, strangulation with a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon and two firearm possession offenses. As an adult, he was previously convicted of possessing an unlicensed gun.
Shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday, members of the Rochester Police Department’s tactical unit were in the area of Bauman and Laser streets to gather intelligence for an ongoing murder investigation. Mazurkiewicz and Seng were parked in an unmarked, plain-clothes vehicle on Bauman Street, south of Laser Street. Other unmarked and marked tactical unit vehicle were also in the area as part of the operation, according to police.
Vickers is accused of approaching the surveillance vehicle Mazurkiewicz and Seng were in around 9:15 p.m., and while hiding behind large shrubs, he allegedly fired roughly 17 bullets into the vehicle from 10 to 15 feet away, Capt. Frank Umbrino of the Rochester Police Department detailed at a press conference Friday.
Mazurkiewicz, who was sitting in the driver’s seat, was struck at least twice in the upper body, and Seng was shot once in the lower body, according to Umbrino.
“Despite having just been shot, Officer Seng was able to exit the vehicle and return fire at the suspect,” Umbrino said. “The suspect was not shot.”
After allegedly shooting the officer, Vickers is accused of running away from the area. First responders were then sent to the area and immediately rushed both officers to the hospital, where Mazurkiewicz died from his injuries, according to law enforcement. Seng was treated and released. He was recovering at home with his wife and children.
The 15-year-old girl, who was in her home near the shooting, dove for cover upon hearing the gunshots and was grazed by one of three bullets that penetrated a wall in her home, authorities said. She was treated for her wounds, which were not life-threatening.
Police officers from other communities in the county converged on the scene of the shooting, set up a perimeter around it and noticed signs someone entered a vacant house in the area. While checking the building, law enforcement say, officers located Vickers hiding in a second-floor crawl space. He eventually complied with officers’ commands and was taken into custody without incident.
According to police, a loaded 9-millimeter handgun was found near Vickers in the house. Preliminary testing revealed the weapon was allegedly used to kill Mazurkiewicz as well as shoot Seng and the girl, authorities said.
In the aftermath of the shooting, all the investigative units in the Rochester Police Department, along with its local, state, and federal partners, worked to execute six search warrants throughout the city and found nine firearms, including both handguns and assault-style rifles, as well as hundreds of rounds of ammunition and almost 100 pounds of marijuana, according to law enforcement.
Vickers was taken to the Monroe County Jail and was expected to be arraigned Saturday morning in Rochester City Court, police said.