After a string of recent shootings, a prayer vigil will be held Wednesday night for the seventh person killed in the city of Hartford this year.
Police are still searching for the suspect or suspects responsible for fatally shooting 23-year-old Javar Preston, of Bloomfield, Monday night.
Preston was found with multiple gunshot wounds in the area of Blue Hills Avenue and West Euclid Street at about 8 p.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
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.
Despite the recent surge in violence, shootings are on the decline in the Capital City. By May 11, 2011, there were 46 shooting victims. In 2012, there were 39. In 2013, there has been 26 so far.
The vigil will be held at the intersection of Blue Hills Avenue and West Euclid Street at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The event will be run by Mothers United Against Violence and the Rev. Henry Brown.
"He liked to tell jokes. He was very friendly," said Shorna Wisdom about her friend Preston, who wanted to be a barber.
Another friend, Ryan Best, said Preston was a "a good guy" and the violence in Hartford is "absolutely outta control."
"Oh, it's crazy," said Wisdom, who grew up with Preston. "No one deserves to die. What happened to fighting? Everyone think they tough, and they not."
In the murder of Preston, police said no arrests have been made, but progress is being made.
"We're making significant progress in many shootings, in many of these cases over these past couple weeks," said police Lt. Brian Foley. "Our detectives are among the best and we're progressing very well in many of these cases."
Foley said last week was a difficult week.
"We stay in close contact with families and the victims of these violent acts," Foley said. "We're working around the clock doing the best we can to find out whose behind these murders and violent acts."
The surge in shootings caused city leaders to look for ways to curb violence Tuesday morning. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, police Chief James Rovella, Gov. Dannel Malloy and other city leaders meet at community forum on strategies to prevent violence, including community policing.
Anyone with information about the recent shootings 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.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.