Family members mourn a loved one gunned down in his car

Posted at: 08/26/2013 11:45 PM
Updated at: 08/26/2013 11:51 PM
By: Lynette Adams

Family members say Walter Smith was loving and wasn't the kind of person to make enemies.

Police tell us the 28-year-old was found in his car overnight, Saturday, with multiple gunshot wounds. He's the latest victim of unrelenting violence in Rochester. In just one week, 11 people were shot, two of them were killed.

Rochester Police Chief, James Sheppard, says investigators think Walter Smith's murder was not random, and they say the community has a big part to play in stopping the violence. Smith's family is appealing to anyone who has information about this crime to please come forward.

“Walter was amazing he had no enemies.”

Dawn Hartzog is trying to figure out who would want to hurt her brother. She says Walter Smith was the kind of person who would give you the shirt off his back. He was a full time student at MCC, a father, who dreamed of becoming a rapper or singer. His sister says he was shot and killed while he waited in his car to take someone to the store, early Sunday morning. She says the violence is out of control.

“All we need to know is why. Had not it been Walter, had it been anyone. Why is there is so much killing, why is there so much crime. When will it stop. When can we lay are heads down in peace,” said Hartzog.

Scores of friends, family and community members gathered on Elba Street, to memorialize the place where Smith spent the final moments of his life. His sister says he was sitting in front of his house. His godmother, Willette McFadden, says this crime just doesn't make sense.

“Situations like this don't need to happen to anybody. Walter was a peaceful person. He always tried to be there for people. Saturday we were just at the peace rally on Jefferson Avenue, Walter was there to support.”

Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard says, police think an organized group of some sort is responsible for the recent violence in the Plymouth Avenue area. He says Smith was targeted.  He says if people want the violence to end, the Community has step up and speak up.

“The one thing that I stress if no one wants to come forward these things will continue. For us to make the streets safe people have to collaborate with the Rochester Police Department and make it happen,” says Chief Sheppard.

Rochester Police have made some arrests, and put a dent in this organized group of criminals. But they say there is still much work to do, and they need your help. If you have any information about these crimes, please call 911.