One Syracuse teen is dead, and another is under arrest after the city's 21st homicide of the year. YNN's Sarah Blazonis has more on what city officials are calling it a tragedy that lacks rationality.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Police say this all started at a party at the Clinton Plaza Apartments Sunday. About a block away from the complex, people who knew Charles Pitts, Jr. have set up a memorial with candles and stuffed animals.
Officials say one of the most senseless things about this crime is the alleged reason it was committed.
"According to Gilberto Rodriguez, Charles Pitts, Jr, was staring at him while inside the party. There's no indication that any words were exchanged inside the party, there's no indication that they had a physical altercation," said Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler.
Still, Chief Fowler says Rodriguez left the party at the Clinton Plaza Apartments shortly after Pitts did. He confronted him about the staring, and that's when Rodriguez allegedly stabbed Pitts.
"I'm not calling it a fight, because there's nothing to indicate to us now that Charles Pitts even had an opportunity to defend himself, so I'm going to categorize it as an attack," said Fowler.
It's the kind of violence the city's struggled with all year long as it creeps closer and closer to matching 2008's 24 homicides, the highest number in recent years. The city's now up to 21 homicides compared to 14 in both 2011 and 2012.
Officials have said in the past that while some city programs have been successful in curbing gang-related violence, these more random acts are harder to predict and reduce.
"This is not an issue where you could say, 'If there were more police, if there was a security camera there, or if we had stronger, tougher gun laws...'" said Mayor Stephanie Miner. "This is a situation where one person's bad decision and behavior that is deviant has cost another person their life."
Now, Rodriguez, 16, is charged with second degree murder and friends and family of Pitts, 17, are left to offer wishes like "rest easy."
Chief Fowler says when officers arrived, there was a large, hostile crowd gathered outside the building. They think more people might know something that can help them understand what happened and aid in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call (315) 442-5222.