Local leaders seek to stop gun violence in Hartford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Local leaders seek to stop gun violence in Hartford

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Amidst a recent increase in violence in Hartford, officials including the mayor, police chief and governor gathered Tuesday to discuss strategies to reduce crime.

It's been a violent few weeks in Hartford. In the past week there have been six shootings, two of which have been fatal.

Here is a breakdown of the recent shootings:

  • Shooting on Blue Hills Avenue last Tuesday
  • Homicide last Wednesday on Allendale Road
  • Shooting on Barker Street last Saturday
  • Double shooting Sunday on Lawrence Street
  • Another single person shot on Albany Avenue that same day
  • Homicide Monday night on Blue Hills and West Euclid

There were no killings in Hartford for nearly the first three months of 2013. But just within the past two months, seven people have been killed.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford police Chief James Rovella and members of the Hartford City Council attended the forum Tuesday morning to address ways to reduce crime and urban violence through community policing.

"If you're [going to] do anything, show us you care about us," the Rev. Henry Brown, of Hartford, said. "Show us you care about us. Don't talk to us, but show us."

The governor said a suggestion by one woman about more help for inmates once they get out of prison intrigued him.

"I've only been in office 2 1/2 years," Malloy said. "Rome wasn't built in a day."

The meeting came less than 24 hours after the city's most recent homicide. Javar Preston, 23, was shot multiple times, including in the head, and killed in the Blue Hills section of the city Monday night.

"We heard five bullets go down and my friend said somebody got shot," said Simone Hewitt, of Hartford.

Preston had just finished serving a six-year prison term for first-degree robbery with a firearm last September.

"There's a program like this in New Haven," said Beatrice Sullivan of Leadership Greater Hartford. "We need in Hartford."

Friends of Preston lit candles near the scene of the homicide.

"I was out here earlier," Hewitt said. "We put the first candles out here, I stopped here on my way home to see if anybody was out here to relight them."

Eyewitness News spoke with Hartford police late Tuesday afternoon. Investigators don't believe it was a random attack. Investigators said they do believe Preston was target of the violence.

"I'm 50 plus. He's just 23," said Lucky Walker, of Hartford. "It's a waste. It's just a total waste."

At the meeting, the panel did say progress is being made, but life on the streets of Hartford remains all too violent in many neighborhoods.

"Homicides are down, shootings are down, the police are doing more, we are trying to do more, but clearly we have a long way to go," Hartford State Attorney Gail Hardy said.

Other ideas discussed include the government building more housing for ex-offenders and building a new police substation in the city's north end.

There will be a prayer vigil at the corner of Albany Avenue and Edgewood Street, where a 30-year-old man was shot in the chest Sunday night.

Anyone with information is urged to call Hartford police at 860-757-4000 or the tip line at 860-722-TIPS (8477). All calls will be kept confidential.

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