'Enough is enough.' Toddler shot, severely wounded during shootout on North Clinton Ave. in Rochester

A 3-year-old boy was shot and seriously wounded while inside a parked car on North Clinton Avenue Wednesday night.

Officers near North Clinton heard gunshots just before 6 p.m., and arrived on North Clinton Avenue, near Clifford Avenue to find evidence that a shootout occurred in the area.

Lt. Greg Bello of the Rochester Police Department said two groups of people in the area were shooting at one another "from some distance away," when the boy was struck at least once in the upper body by a bullet while he sat in a car seat of a car parked near a corner store on North Clinton Avenue.

Bello said it appeared that the adult with the child had entered the store for a moment when the boy was shot. Smith later said that the adult "jumped into the car to shield the child" upon hearing gunshots. That person was not injured.

The shooters, Bello said, appeared to be firing at one another from near the Valero gas station and the AutoZone store, both on North Clinton Avenue. Rochester Police Chief David Smith later confirmed that 25 to 30 rounds were fired.

The child was taken to Rochester General Hospital by private vehicle. The boy was then taken by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital, where he underwent surgery for what police described as life-threatening injuries."

The boy, who was not identified by police, was in critical but stable condition at Strong, Smith said Thursday morning. A hospital spokeswoman on Thursday confirmed that the boy was in guarded condition.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of this 3-year-old,” Rochester Police Chief David Smith said Wednesday night. “As a father of five myself, I cannot begin to imagine what they are experiencing right now at the hospital while their child is in surgery.”

Has anyone been charged in Rochester shooting?

While it remains unclear how many people were involved in the incident, several people ran from the scene. Bello said officers chased at a man to a house on Sullivan Street, where they recovered two handguns and detained several people.

Smith on Thursday revealed that two people have been charged in connection with Wednesday's shooting. Travis Lewis, 34, and a 16-year-old boy were both charged with first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, both felonies. The teen was also charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony. Lewis, a convicted felon, was also charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

The teen, who was wearing body armor and had a loaded handgun and fentanyl when he was apprehended, was arraigned in Monroe County Family Court and was remanded to the Monroe County Children's Detention Center in lieu of $50,000 bail. Lewis pleaded not guilty Thursday morning in City Court and was remanded to the Monroe County Jail without bail. Lewis is due back in court on Tuesday morning for a preliminary hearing.

Lewis, a predicate felon, was most recently convicted of felony assault and weapon possession in May for his role in a January 2021 shootout in which Lewis and another man were shot, Smith said. He remained out on bail pending his upcoming sentencing.

Rochester police to go to 12 hour shifts

Rochester Police Chief David Smith said that police will have a "constant presence" on North Clinton Avenue for the coming days with multiple officers there at all times. Starting Thursday, he said, he will mandate 12-hour work days for RPD officers to double staff North Clinton Avenue, "after an exhausting summer of mandatory overtime."

“What we witnessed here tonight and why we’re standing here tonight are individuals that have held this community hostage,” said Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, “and when I say this community, I mean this stretch of North Clinton Avenue.”

The neighbors are tired of it, he said. Those involved have "absolutely no regard for life," and shot at one another while officers were on patrol in the area, striking a toddler.

"The vast majority of people in this neighborhood are good hardworking people, "Evans said. "We have said 'enough is enough.' We are tired of saying 'enough is enough.'"

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call 911 or CrimeStoppers at (585) 423-9300.

This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Toddler shot during shootout on North Clinton Ave. in Rochester NY