Acting Police Chief Mark Simmons provides details Sept. 19, 2020, on a mass shooting on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Rochester Public Market.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

ROCHESTER, NY — Two young adults were killed and 14 people wounded early Saturday in the largest Rochester shooting in memory, an act of violence that occurred at a backyard house party with more than 100 people present.

The violence occurred on Pennsylvania Avenue, at a residence located not far from the Rochester Public Market.

The identities of the two victims, one man and one woman, have not been made public pending notification of next of kin. Acting Police Chief Mark Simmons said both victims were in their late teens or early 20s.

“This is truly a tragedy of epic proportions,,” Simmons said at a 3:45 a.m. news briefing at the scene. “16 victims is unheard of, and for our community, who’s right now going through so much, to have to be dealt with this tragedy, needlessly, for people who decide to act in a violent manner is unfortunate and shameful, and we’re going to do everything that we can as a department to bring those people involved to justice.”

None of the bullet wounds suffered by the 14 other shooting victims are believed to be life-threatening, the police chief said. The wounded persons were taken to Strong Memorial Hospital and to Rochester General Hospital.

Two others suffered injuries while fleeing the gunfire, the Rochester Police Department Major Crimes Unit tweeted just before 5 a.m.

Significant numbers of Rochester police officers responded to the scene along Pennsylvania Avenue following the shootings reported at about 12:25 a.m. ET.

No suspects are in custody, Simmons said. No motive for the violence is known. He said it was too early to know if multiple shooters were responsible.

When police arrived, they saw scores of people running from the scene and found multiple people who had been shot. Simmons described it as “a very chaotic scene.”

Authorities did not know the house party was occurring until they responded to the 911 call about the shootings, Simmons said.

“This is yet another tragedy where individuals are having these illegal and unsanctioned house parties taking place in these properties,” the chief said. He said these are unsafe because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and when “you add in alcohol and violence … it just becomes a recipe for disaster.”

Saturday’s mass shooting occurred in a month when tensions between Rochester police and the city’s Black community have been high because of the release Sept. 2 of police bodycam video showing the suffocation of Chicago resident Daniel Prude while being restrained by city police during a mental-health call response last March.

Daniel Prude case: Emails show Rochester officials’ attempts to conceal information about Prude’s death

Rochester has been the scene of daily Black Lives Matter protests since Sept. 2. Just five days ago, Simmons took over as acting police chief after Mayor Lovely Warren fired Chief La’Ron Singletary over his handling