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Police say they shot and killed a man in the Park Avenue neighborhood

Two men walking under yellow police 'caution' tape stretched between a house and a street sign
Max Schulte
Members of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office walk on Milburn Street on Monday, March 20, 2023, toward Barrington Street, where officers shot and killed a man while trying to apprehend him.

Rochester Police are releasing more details about an incident Monday afternoon which ended with RPD officers and Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies shooting the man, who died at the scene.

On Tuesday, police identified the man killed by police as 35-year-old Brendon Burns of Rochester.

It happened on streets in the Park Ave. neighborhood, including Milburn, Vassar and Barrington, not far from School 23, a city elementary school.

Police Chief David Smith and Sheriff Todd Baxter said during a news conference Monday evening that the situation began with an incident Friday night when police responded to the 400 block of Monroe Ave., after a report that multiple gunshots were fired from a vehicle into a business that was closed for the day. No one was injured.

Police later found the car they were looking for on Milburn St. A search of the car after it was towed found 2 guns, according to Smith.

Police were then able to identify a potential suspect. Then, on Monday at about 7 a.m. Brighton Police responded to Elmwood Ave. for a report of shots fired on Hemingway Drive which struck a vehicle in a road rage incident.

Officers then identified a vehicle used in that incident which again led them back to the same address where they had towed the first car, on Milburn St.

Brighton and Rochester PD tried to stop that car after it left Milburn St. at about 9 a.m. They stopped the chase due to unsafe speeds and reckless driving on I-590.

But Smith said the car came back to Milburn St. later in the day. Deputies tried to stop him again, but he took off on foot, and they fired at least one shot as they said the man showed a large hunting knife and threatened deputies.

Police continued to chase the man through several yards, and then into a backyard on Barrington St. Smith said the man brandished a shotgun and despite numerous commands to drop the weapon, he didn’t do that and RPD and deputies both fired their guns, striking the man multiple times. He died at the scene. No one else was injured.

The city school district had a ‘lockout’ during this incident as a precaution.

The man who was killed has not been identified yet, but Smith said that RPD has dealt with him in the past over several years. He didn’t detail over what kinds of situations that involvement entailed.

As is standard procedure when an officer shoots and killed a civilian, the New York State Attorney General’s Office will investigate Monday’s incident. Both RPD and the Sheriff’s Dept. will also conduct internal investigations.

Neighbor Alana Barend was inside her house on Edgerton Street Monday afternoon when she heard yelling and saw police chasing a man across the school parking lot and through the neighborhood. The man was limping or hobbling and wasn’t running fast, she and other witnesses said.

police walking in the road, one officer holds up the caution tape to let other officers into a closed off area in a residential neighborhood
Max Schulte
Multiple law enforcement agencies investigate the area of Milburn and Barrington streets, where officers shot and killed a man while trying to apprehend him Monday, March 20, 2023.

Barend lost sight of them as they headed down Milburn.

"About two minutes later, there were about five repetitive gunshots that went off,” she said.

School 23 fifth-grader Gemma DeLella was in math class when the announcement came over the intercom for teachers to lock their doors, instructing them that this was a real lockdown. She said she didn’t know right away what was happening.

“It was really scary,” she said, standing with her father, Chuck DeLella, after the all-clear was given and students were released to their parents. “A lot of kids in my class started crying because just the thought of not being able to wake up in my bed tomorrow morning is a lot. And not being able to say goodbye to my dad and my mom.”

Chuck DeLella said parents were alerted about 20 minutes before pickup and were told everyone was OK and the school was secure, “so there was less of that fear.”

Mayor Malik Evans released a statement Monday night saying that his condolences are with the family and friends of the person who was shot and killed. Evans said that he is thankful there were no other injuries “during the dangerous events of today,” and the mayor said he wants to “express my gratitude to the men and women in law enforcement, who run toward danger to keep others safe.”

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.
Brian Sharp is WXXI's investigations and enterprise editor. He also reports on business and development in the area. He has been covering Rochester since 2005. His journalism career spans nearly three decades.
Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.