The father of a Hartford murder victim surrounded by other grieving families poured out his heart and called for an end to violence in the city.
"You don't know the pain I go through. You don't know the suffering I have," said Sam Saylor during a press conference Friday. "No one needs to feel this pain again."
As of Friday, the city of Hartford has seen 20 murders, and nearly half are still unsolved.
Families of victims took to the streets of city hall Friday to get answers and explained to Eyewitness News that there needs to be a collaborative effort between the officers and the community.
However, in cases of urban violence, especially the unsolved cases, that relationship needs to get stronger, according to the families.
Hartford police arrested Luis Rodriguez and charged him with the shooting death of Hartford's Shane Oliver, 20, near the Sheldon Oak Apartments on South Prospect Street on Oct. 20. Oliver was the son of Sam Saylor.
"A 20-year-old took his life, shot him down cold in his back," Saylor said. "Emptied his gun into his back and wanted to shoot his friend, but ran out of bullets. We can stop death and carnage and murder in the city at the number 20."
Rodriguez was charged with murder, unlawful discharge of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit and reckless endangerment on Oct. 24.
"The community's help is the most important aspect of solving all those unsolved homicide cases," said Hartford Police Lt. Brian Foley.
But many times, Hartford police run into a wall of silence, which stops their investigation cold. Randy Beckman was killed 10 years ago, and his mom is still looking for his killer.
"When he was shot, it was such a shock to us, to the whole community," said Henrietta Beckman.
The families are hoping to break the code.
Hartford police will continue to walk the streets and get to know the people in neighborhoods. The officers hope by trying to form a bond with those people in the community, it could pay dividends in some of these cold cases.
On Thanksgiving, there was one big void at the dinner table, and Saylor is wanting to spare other families from feeling this pain.
"Maybe somebody's child will come home alive, and not shot down," he said. "Maybe we can end the tears of mothers who are crying, but at the same time, go after those people who are still out there in our streets who have shot our kids down."
Anyone with any information about previous incidents in the city is asked to call 860-757-4089 or the tip line at 860-722-TIPS (8477). All tips will be kept confidential.
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