Track star Jarvis Alexander and cheerleading captain Jaquayla Young, both 19 years old, were killed early Saturday morning during the shooting at an upstate New York backyard party, which is now being called the largest recorded shooting in Rochester. Additionally, 14 people were injured at the party, where more than 100 people attended and at least 40 rounds were fired, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
"We have innocent victims that were attending a party with a few friends and unfortunately they lost their lives as a result," Capt. Frank Umbrino of the Rochester Police Department said in a statement. "It's heart-wrenching when you have innocent people getting killed.
Alexander, who was a sophomore at Alfred University at the time of his death, was remembered for his positive attitude, good grades and love for sport.
He attended high school at University Preparatory Charter School, where he was known for being a strong sprinter and a valuable member of the school’s relay team. "Without a question, if he said he was going to do something, he did it," his track coach Majied Eason told the Democrat & Chronicle.
Young, who was attending Monroe Community College, graduated from East High in 2019. Not only was she the captain of the cheerleading team, Young was known for her academic achievements, including becoming an Urban League of Rochester Black Scholar and a school ambassador, and continued to be involved in student life as an alumna after graduation.
"She was an incredible young woman," East High Superintendent Shaun Nelms told the Democrat & Chronicle. "It's so hard. She did everything you would want your own child to do."
Both Alexander and Young are believed to be innocent bystanders at the party over the weekend. The gathering was originally meant to be small, until two larger parties joined, police said.
The shooting occurred after an argument escalated, and multiple people “took out handguns and started firing,” Umberto said.
There have not yet been any arrests in connection with the shooting, and the Rochester Police Department is continuing to investigate with the help of other jurisdictions including New York State Police, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Irondequoit Police Department.