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Family claims man's call for help before North Side shooting went unanswered

The victim's family says the shooting happened while the man was going door to door.

A family is upset with police after a man was shot on the city's North Side Tuesday night.

The victim, that the family identifies as 30-year-old Allen Rufus, said the shooting happened while the man was going door to door for his job for the 1199SEIU health care workers union. They claim he called police earlier that night out of fear for his safety because he was being harassed by people telling him to leave the neighborhood.

The victim's family claims police didn't show up, so the man called Common Councilor Helen Hudson; while on the phone with her, the 30-year-old was shot, his family said.

During a Common Council meeting Wednesday, the Syracuse Police Department Deputy Chief Joseph Cecile said the original harassment call was not as high of a priority as a shooting call. He acknowledged that the department doesn't have enough officers to respond to every call. Cecile did not comment further on the incident, other than to say an investigation is ongoing.

"When a priority 3 came in there was no a car to spare, but when he was shot 20 cars showed up," Hudson said. "That's very interesting to me. One car could have come out and deescalated the situation."

Currently, the City of Syracuse has 420 police officers with the ability to fund 465 positions, according to Alexander Marion, a spokesperson for the Mayor's office. In July, the common council included money for 15 additional officers, which brings the possible threshold to 480 eligible positions.

However, the mayor has stated that currently there are no plans to hire any new officers.

Mayor Stephanie Miner's Office issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

Last night, an incident occurred in the area around Spencer Street and Genant Drive where a [30-year-old] male was shot. As with all cases, the Syracuse Police Department is focused on fully investigating this matter and bringing it to a resolution. When we have all evidence and it is appropriate, we will share the result of the investigation with the public.

Rufus was shot in the right thumb and left leg on the 100 block of Basin Street, police said.

It was one of two shootings that happened within hours of each other Tuesday night.

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