The community came together on Thursday night after nine people were shot at a shooting at a Bridgeport apartment complex early that morning.
According to police, the shooting was reported around midnight and involved nine people in the parking lot at the Trumbull Gardens Apartment Complex on Trumbull Avenue. Victims were taken to Bridgeport Hospital and Saint Vincent's Hospital.
There was reportedly a group of people hanging out in the parking lot early this morning when at least two gunmen started shooting.
Police identified the man who was killed as 37-year-old Savonnie McNeil.
Sheka Smith told Eyewitness News he is the father of her teenage daughter.
"It was real crazy. It was shocking," Smith said. "I just screamed when I got the news."
Smith said she saw him on Wednesday for a few minutes. Now, Smith said she is trying to process that he's gone, as others also take in the news.
"I love my baby's father, and I never wished anything like this on him. I don't even believed this happened," Smith said.
Belinda McNeil said her son was shot in the head and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
"He was private, stayed to himself, didn't bother anybody," she said, adding that he was the father of five children, and had just moved to Shelton. "It was just the place to be, but I asked him a few weeks ago, stay off that terrace, there is nothing good of it."
Police said three women were shot along with six men. The age range of victims is from 27 years old to 59 years old.
Karen Bracey, of the Trumbull Gardens Residents Association, said police cruisers and crime tape have become an all too common scene at the complex.
"These are boys that I watched grow up. I'm devastated that one of them is dead," Bracey said. "Just like anybody else we all have our problems and he changed. Good man, working, taking care of his children."
There have also been a number of shootings at the complex over the years, some even in broad daylight.
"We are going to put up more cameras, more security presence. Thanks to the mayor, we've had a lot more police presence in all of our developments," said Lee Byers of the Bridgeport Housing Authority.
Investigators also said a 59-year-old woman taking a bath was shot in the back when a bullet penetrated a wall. She will likely be released from the hospital later on Thursday.
The other shooting victims were in surgery and listed in guarded condition.
According to police, there was a group of people outside at the time of the shooting, and officers believe there were multiple shooters and multiple weapons involved. Police have leads on suspects but are not releasing information on them yet.
"They were all just hanging out, having a good time, talking to each other, and all of a sudden all hell broke loose," said Bridgeport police Capt. AJ Perez.
Perez said at least two suspects fled on foot afterwards. Police said the two gunmen were young and wearing hooded sweatshirts. Investigators added that there may have been more shooters.
"We will do everything we can to bring these people to justice," Bridgeport Police Chief Joe Gaudett said.
At a Thursday morning news conference, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and police pleaded with the public and asked anyone with information to come forward.
"We are outraged by this violence, this senseless violence," Finch said. "Our heart goes out to the families."
"We need every parent of a teen son to bring them in and talk to them about the violence ... nothing can come from it," he continued.
Police said the roads in the area were closed for the investigation.
On Thursday evening, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and members of the clergy lead prayers and rallies in the city.
"I was really encouraged by their courage, by their tenacity," Finch said. "The deceased was a nephew of our security guard in our building. One of the gentlemen shot was the gentlemen of one of our custodians in our schools."
Neighbors react to the shooting
Those living in the area told Eyewitness News that they've been trying to come to grips with what happened.
Many neighbors were shocked to hear that a woman was struck while she was in her bathroom.
They said she is known as Miss G., or the "Ice Lady," because she gives summertime treats to the children right from her home.
Steven Vega said he woke up early this morning to the chaos as a hail of bullets were heard outside his window, then the desperate pleas for help from one of the female victims.
"She called me over and said, can you help me, can you help me. I'm shot," Vega said.
He then learned Miss G. had been shot.
"I was sad because I've known her since I was 2 years old," he said.Miss G. was treated for a wound to her hip area and was released from the hospital, and had returned to her home on Thursday afternoon.
"She looked at us and smiled and went in the house," Vega said.
This close call isn't her first encounter with violence. Neighbors said her nephew was murdered in the complex several years ago.
Neighbors said they are grateful she will be alright and are hoping her close call will be the wake-up call the community needs to end violence.
"I think that's what it's going to take and if they don't come together, God forbid, something else will happen, and I pray that nothing else will happen to these kids," said eyewitness Devore Anderson.
They said they do see a lot of shootings in the area, many in the summertime.
This one, they said, was harder to swallow because many innocent people were hit.
"I thought it was firecrackers, but then I heard people screaming after so I came down and I crossed the street," one woman, who wished not to be identified, said. "I seen one guy that was in bad, bad shape."
One woman's friend was on the scene when the gunfire erupted and said she saw the man who died get shot and hit the ground.
She said she's still trying to process that his life was lost.
"I'm just sad; I'm just sad," said Ala Carter, a neighbor. "[He was a] good person, [I] watched him grow. I've been living here all my life, and to see this, the news, the tape, this is bull."
Carter said she's asking police for more protection and she's praying for all of the people in the hospital to recover.
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