Crime

Deadly House of Mercy stabbing leaves dozens displaced

​ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The community is learning more about the tragic and disturbing incident Sunday evening at House of Mercy, a Rochester homeless shelter, that left one man dead and another seriously injured.

“It’s a sad thing that an innocent man lost his life,” said Richard, who was among those to witness the incident. “It was horrible to witness somebody getting butchered — and seeing the other person that I knew getting practically slaughtered in front of me.”

“There was chaos, mayhem, people running, seeing blood everywhere,” Richard said.

Michael Nairy, 68, was killed. Police say he was stabbed repeatedly. Richard says the victim seriously injured was a friend of his.

“And I happen to be trying to like help people defend themselves,” Richard said. “And there was a point where he was right next to me. I’m looking for something to protect myself. And all I hear is like a hit. I couldn’t believe he was that close to me from where he was. And he came back and I’m hearing my friend next to me getting slaughtered.”

Another House of Mercy resident was arrested. Police say Nathaniel Jeanpierre III is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder. He was arraigned on those charges Tuesday morning in Rochester City Court.

“Yes, he has mental issues,” House of Mercy employee Crystal Lenear said of the suspect. “And yes, he was going through things. And we tried to comfort him and tell him ‘you don’t have to be afraid here. We got your back. Let us know when someone’s messing with you.’ And he doesn’t understand half of the things that is told to him. Like what they will say in a court, he doesn’t understand. So therefore he has to have someone that he’s close to to navigate the situation.”

Lenear says she’s a shelter monitor assistant. She was not there when the crime occurred, but she says she also knew the victim, Michael Nairy.

“He was a nice guy,” Lenear said. “He kept to himself and he really didn’t harm Jeanpierre, Jeanpierre harmed him. So he was sleeping. And Jeanpierre, I guess, you know, he hears voices and stuff, so, therefore, he was in the man’s cube and cut him up.”

In the meantime, Richard struggles to cope with what he witnessed as he and the other 70-plus people displaced because of the crime wait and wonder what’s next in their lives.

“It’s emotional,” Richard said. “My nerves are shot. I’m even drinking beer again. And I’m not supposed to, just to calm down. You understand? So it’s very difficult. On that topic, it’s horrible, what happened there.”

Richard says he prays for Nairy and is thankful his wounded friend survived. But he fears for his own mental health.

“It’ll always be stuck in my mind,” he said. “It’ll always stay in my head.”

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