SCHENECTADY — Community activists will meet Tuesday to address escalating gun violence in the city.
518 Talks and Save Our Streets will host a discussion Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Jerry Burrell Park, just steps from where one person was injured by gunfire on Schenectady Street, one in a series of five shootings over the weekend that left at least five people injured.
“I feel like as a community, we and politicians need to sit down and strategize about what needs to be done,” said William Rivas, co-founder of Save Our Streets.
Among the participants at Tuesday’s event will be Nik Jones, founder of gang intervention group Band of Brothers, and Save Our Streets co-founder Alfredo Smalls.
City police responded to five reports of gunfire over the weekend, most of them early Sunday.
Two victims were brought to Albany Medical Center after being shot at Central Park near the basketball courts at 12:15 a.m.
Another person was shot on Schenectady Street across from Jerry Burrell at about 1 a.m. and driven by private vehicle to Ellis Hospital and then transferred to Albany Medical Center, police said.
Authorities are also investigating shots fired at the 300 block of Duane Avenue just before 3 a.m., where police found multiple shell casings, as well as on Crane Street, where the exact time frame remains unclear.
Two gunshot victims were treated at Ellis Hospital on Sunday night after being shot in the leg and ankle, respectively, on the 400 block of Hulett Street before 9 p.m.
No arrests had been made by Monday afternoon, and all shootings remain under investigation, according to city police.
“We’ve seen an uptick in gun violence — it’s not just Schenectady, but our uptick is less than what we’re seeing in other communities,” said Mayor Gary McCarthy, who expressed confidence arrests will be made in connection with the shootings and urged witnesses to come forward.
Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford didn’t return a request for comment on Monday.
Schenectady isn’t the only city grappling with an uptick gun violence this summer, which has also marred Troy, Albany and Syracuse, where three people were fatally shot over the weekend, according to Syracuse.com | The Post Standard.
Rivas said inflamed tensions as a result of coronavirus shutdowns could be a factor, as well as a dearth of summer programming for adolescents, but stopped short of flagging an exact reason.
“There’s a lot of different factors that play into it,” Rivas said. “But it’s definitely a case for alarm, and we need to be strategic about our initiatives. It’s really out of hand.”
Following a 15-month stretch in which the city had no gun-related killings, three people have died by gunfire this year, including Ieasha Merritt, a pregnant woman who was shot in the head July 5 and later died of her injuries.
“I can’t say why there’s so much shooting, but it’s got to stop,” said Marva Isaacs, a long-time community activist. “We’re screaming Black Lives Matter and we’re killing each other?”