Rochester, N.Y. – The city ended 2012 with 36 homicides. That’s up from 31 in 2011, but below the 25-year-average of 43 homicides per year.
Twenty-one of the 2012 homicides remain unsolved, including the death of Stephen Cobb. The 29-year-old was shot to death on West Man Street in June. He worked at St. Ann’s nursing home cleaning patient rooms and was devoted to his young daughter.
“I could understand if he was sick. I could understand if he got hit by a car, but for somebody just to go in and take his life?” said his mother, Sheryl Cobb. “My son was a productive person in the community.”
Cobb pleaded for witnesses to come forward. Police Chief James Sheppard said detectives often know who pulled the trigger, but can’t make an arrest unless they build a stronger case.
“We never give up on those cases,” said Sheppard. “The investigators they’re trying to develop information, develop something that can make that arrest stick.”
Sheppard doesn’t want to credit any one initiative for the downward trend of homicides. He hopes the community is changing. But he notes assault shootings, in which the victim survives, were up almost 80 percent in 2012. Final numbers were not available.
Two women who died in fires may have been homicide victims, but the department is not including them in the 2012 count. Cheryl Majors died in a fire on Pierpont St. that was ruled an arson. Airistine Gibson died in a fire on Bay Street that police suspect may have been arson, but there’s been no determination.
Her son’s death has taken a huge toll on Sheryl Cobb. She has not been able to return to work and cannot talk about Stephen without tears welling in her eyes.
“To remove him from this earth cause they’re mad? Because they don’t like something or because of respect? No you don’t have that right.”
If you have any information about any of the unsolved cases, police would like you to call CrimeStoppers at 423-9300. You don't have to give your name and may get a cash reward.