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'This mother deserves justice for her baby’: Evans pleads for information on Rochester’s first homicide of year

Mayor Malik Evans at his first press conference in office
Gino Fanelli
City News
Mayor Malik Evans at his first press conference in office

In his first news conference as Rochester’s mayor, Malik Evans begged the community on Monday to help solve Rochester’s first homicide of the year.

After attending Gov. Kathy Hochul’s COVID-19 briefing at SUNY Rochester Educational Opportunity Center downtown, Evans said he spent part of his day on a daunting task: speaking to the family of a slain 14-year-old.

“This mother deserves justice for her baby, because that’s what he was -- a baby,” Evans said.

Rochester Police say Julius Greer Jr. was sent to a store on North Street near Herald Street around 6 p.m. Sunday to buy noodles and was shot in the back at least once as he entered. An unoccupied parked car was also struck by bullets.

No motive is known at this time, and Rochester Police said they’re not sure whether he was the target.

Evans said the incident hit him hard. During his time as a Rochester Board of Education member, he pushed to have Greer’s school -- the Leadership Academy for Young Men in Charlotte -- created.

“He was shot and killed, not at night, but during the day at North Street,” Evans said. “He did not show up at school this morning. He could have been a doctor. He could have been a lawyer. He could have been an astronaut but that young man is gone from us forever.

“Someone knows who shot a 14-year-old baby,” he continued. “There is someone in this community who knows that. And they have to come forward. Even if you do it anonymously.”

After a record year for homicides in 2021 – there were 81 slayings -- Evans said providing police or violence prevention agencies like Pathways to Peace with information will help break the cycle.

“The community has to own these problems. And that’s actually good news because that means the community actually owns the solutions,” said Evans.

One key component of dealing with violent crime includes naming a new permanent police chief. The city has not had a permanent police chief since La’Ron Singletary resigned in September 2020 amid protests about Daniel Prude’s death. Prude suffocated in police custody after an incident during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, dying a week later. No charges were brought against the officers involved. Singletary is currently challenging for Rep. Joe Morelle’s congressional seat.

Rochester City Council has contracted a search firm to find qualified candidates. Evans said the process is expected to take a few months. Interim Chief David Smith is expected to stay on until someone is hired.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.