The man accused of fatally shooting Rochester Police Department officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz and injuring his partner and a 15-year-old girl stands to serve a mandatory life sentence, if convicted.
On Wednesday, a grand jury handed up an indictment of eight charges against the alleged shooter, Kelvin Vickers. The charges included one count of aggravated murder and one count of second-degree murder in the death of Mazurkiewicz; one count of attempted aggravated murder and one count of attempted second-degree murder in the shooting of Mazurkiewicz’s partner, Officer Sino Seng; and two counts of second-degree assault in the shootings of Seng and 15-year old Tamaia Walker, who was hit in the hail of gunfire. The grand jury also leveled two charges of criminal possession of a weapon.
If Vickers is found guilty of aggravated murder he faces a mandatory life sentence without parole. For that charge to stick, a jury has to believe Vickers knew that he was shooting a police officer.
“The allegation is that the defendant knew, or should have known, that the individual was a police officer at the time of his actions,” District Attorney Sandra Doorley said in announcing the charges
On the evening of July 21, Mazurkiewicz and Seng were performing surveillance in plainclothes on Bauman Street when Vickers allegedly fired at least 16 rounds into the officers’ van. Seng was shot in the leg and Mazurkiewicz in the upper body. Seng returned fire, but did not hit Vickers. Walker, who was sitting in her living room during the shooting, was hit with a bullet during the incident.
Doorley declined to comment on who shot Walker, stating she can’t comment on the evidence.
The penalty of life without parole for aggravated murder of a first responder is a relatively new punishment that stems from another local tragedy.
On Christmas Eve 2012, William Spengler set fire to his home in Webster and ambushed firefighters who arrived on the scene, killing Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, and wounding two others before killing himself.
The following year, the passage of the New York SAFE Act included the so-called “Webster provision,” which mandates life without parole for those found guilty of knowingly killing a first responder in the line of duty.
Vickers, 21, is from Boston and was released from prison in May after serving a three-year term on a weapons charge. Doorley declined to comment on why he was in Rochester, but noted that he remarked in court that he “doesn’t live anywhere.”
“I can tell you that he was released from Boston corrections on May 24, 2022, and he ended up here,” Doorley said. “I’m not going to comment (any further), but I will say he was a Boston resident, he ended up here.”
Mayor Malik Evans said the killing of Mazurkiewicz is a reminder of the violence permeating the streets of Rochester.
“Justice will be served on this individual who thought he could come and wreak havoc on the city of Rochester, and that he could get away from it,” Evans said. “…The way we drive out darkness is to bring in more light, and the way to bring out light is to make sure justice is done.”