Ryans had just finished talking to reporters about the potential for violence at a North Side vigil originally for James Springer III, a 12-year-old who had been killed one day earlier on that block.
Thats when a fight broke out. A call came into the Onondaga County 911 Dispatch Center that someone had flashed a weapon. Some people started walking away, which is when the teen grabbed Ryans shoulders and pulled him.
12-Year-Old Boy shot and killed
“Somebody pulled up with a weapon,” an officer said over the scanner. “We have no idea who at this time.”
Most people bolted up Park Street toward East Division Street, the same route Springer took after someone shot him Wednesday night. He died a few hours later at Upstate University Hospital.
"Im so sorry for your loss. Im so sorry for your loss. I lost a son as well so I know what that pain is like. All that hurt and pain I understand," said Ryan as he embraced Jame Springer IIIs sobbing father.
On Thursday night, Syracuse police cars sped into the intersection of Park and John streets. Two stopped on East Division Street. A bystander pointed the officers to the back of a building where it appeared some of the crowd ran.
Clifford Ryan called on volunteers to meet at the corner of East Division Street and Park Street, gathering with signs reading "End The Violence" and a plan to walk the neighborhood.
The officers stopped a group of people on East Division Street, yelled for them to put their hands up and searched them.
Its unclear whether a weapon was recovered. The Syracuse Police Department did not respond when contacted for comment.
Once the officers arrived, much of the crowd dispersed. Several officers from the police departments Crime Reduction Team stayed there through approximately 10:45 p.m. Lt. Geno Turo, who leads the CRT, responded to the scene, too.
The vigil had been scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m., about the time Springer was shot on Wednesday night.
The two embraced each other for roughly five minutes, father James Springer sobbing as Ryan commiserated with the grieving father.
At least 50 people had gathered more than 15 minutes prior. By 9:24 p.m., the call about a possible gun had been placed to police and the crowd had bolted.
Pulling from the embrace, Ryan told other volunteers to support the lamenting father. One by one, the group embraced him.
Candles lined the curb near Park and John streets, where Springer had been shot. Teddy bears were set down near the candles with Springers shoe and other mementos. Tealight candles spelled out “Lil J,” one of Springers nicknames.
Springers parents, who participated in a walk organized by Ryans earlier Thursday, didnt show up to the vigil. Several people who had been with the family said the family decided to leave the area for a little while earlier.
A short time after police arrived, some of the crowd returned to the scene, though the crowd was noticeably smaller.
The owner of the corner store at Park and John streets closed the shop early after the police arrived.
A man at the vigil appeared to start smoking marijuana and was arrested. A group of people who were friends with the man talked with officers for a short time after the arrest.
Slowly, the gathering shrunk from acquaintances, friends and extended family to just friends and extended family and finally just extended family. Some called taxis home, shook by how the vigil had started.
Even as most people left, the candles stayed lit and the memorial to Springer remained largely untouched.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – A prayer vigil was held for the 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed on Syracuse's north side.
Police responding to the area of Park Street and John Street around 9:35 p.m. When they arrived, they learned the child had been brought to St. Joseph's Hospital by private vehicle. He was then transferred to Upstate University Hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He later died.
Another vigil was scheduled for 9:30 p.m., but when NewsChannel 9 arrived police had the area surrounded. According to officers on scene, something caused the group of people to scattered. It is unknown what caused the disturbance.
We came back for the vigil that was supposed to continue at 9:30. A heavy police presence here. Something happened. An SPD officer said witnesses told him the group surrounding the vigil suddenly scattered. Our friends with other media outlets said they hid in backyards. pic.twitter.com/53zhHPvUYJ