Back-to-back homicides take place just after city's announcement of lower crime rates


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Mayor David Roefaro reacted to the deadly holiday weekend in the City of Utica, just days after city officials said crime rates were drastically lower. Two incidents took place separately in the city, one late on Wednesday and another early Friday morning.

Around 11:50 p.m. Wednesday, the Utica Police Department was called to a home on Dudley Avenue in the Cornhill section of the city. Upon arrival, they found 66-year-old George Garrow suffering from shot wounds who later died at the scene.

Garrow was listed as a level-three sex offender on the New York State Sex Offender Registry. In 1988, he was convicted of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy. Neighbors say Garrow had one leg, used a motorized wheelchair to get around and was often seen driving a tractor to collect scrap metal he would sell for cash.

Utica Police are still on the search for Garrow's killer. They ask that if anyone has information, to please call them 315-223-3510. All calls will be kept confidential.

Just over 24 hours later, an early-morning bar fight and stabbing left a 26-year-old man dead and a 20-year-old injured. Police were called to Spilka's Bar on Stark Street shortly after 2:00 a.m. on Friday and found both victims still living.

Both men were transported to local hospitals where 27-year-old Ambrose Smith III of Utica did succumb to his injury. The other man was identified as 20-year-old Willie Reed of Utica, and was subsequently charged with manslaughter.

This comes in dramatic contrast to the statistics reported by the Utica Police Department on Tuesday regarding the city's crime rates. There are seven categories of crime, and only two of those categories showed an increase.

Utica Police Chief Dan LaBella said that murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft all dropped about 10% since 2008.

Utica Mayor David Reofaro released a statement Friday regarding the incidents. Roefaro said, "The city's two homicides reinforce what we said just days ago amid an announcement regarding the large drop in crime. We cannot rest on our laurels."

He added, "Despite our administration's public safety successes, we can't legislate human dignity, we can't budget for it, and we certainly can't always count on it. I hope to offer more information as it becomes available."

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