Rocks bar reopens after fatal shooting

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Rocks bar on Central Avenue in Albany reopened Friday night after a shooting took place there early Thursday morning.

The shooting left one person dead and three people injured. Rocks is a gay bar, but the shooting has been called an isolated incident and not a hate crime towards the LGBT community.

Rather than instilling fear, the shooting actually brought more people out who showed their support for the bar and the LGBT community.

“You see it on TV, and when you see it for real, it’s not a pretty picture,” Rocks owner Peter Hitchcock said.

On the night a hip hop promo party was held, eight security guards were on standby as large crowds flooded through the door. But things turned deadly a short time later.

“The manager said there’s a shooting in the bar,” Hitchcock recalled. “I said, ‘I’ll be right down.’”

The bar immediately closed as police investigated, and during the time its doors were closed, Hitchcock said the outpour of community support was nonstop.

“I had over 170 private messages on Facebook,” he said. “I wound up having to turn off yesterday.”

A frequent customer of Rocks is Albany Councilman Judd Krasher. He said his first thought went straight to the massacre at Orlando nightclub Pulse.

“We certainly can’t allow that one individual to stop all of us from having fun and enjoying our lives,” he said.

The bar stayed open Thursday for the free Thanksgiving dinner that is hosted every year. Friday is the first time when the entire bar is open to the public.

“The color of your skin, there’s no color, so that’s what we try to really enforce,” Hitchcock said.

People were at the bar earlier on Friday to pick up belongings that got left behind the night of the shooting.

Anyone with additional information related to the shooting is asked to contact Albany police.

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