Hartford police continue to investigate a deadly shooting that occurred Saturday night. This is now the 20th homicide of 2015 in the capitol city.
Police said they received several 911 calls around 8:45 p.m. reporting shots fired in the area of 671 Blue Hills Ave., the area of the Mr. Pizza House.
A short time later a male victim showed up at the St. Francis Hospital Emergency Room by private vehicle suffering from several gunshot wounds, police said.
The man was rushed into surgery but died a short time later.
Police do not have any suspects at this time. The victim has been identified as 25-year-old Devon Mitchel of East Hartford.
"It's a tough thing waking up on a Sunday morning and knowing that a young man has lost his life," said Rev. Henry Brown of Mothers United Against Violence.
Less than 24 hours after Mitchell was murdered, his family along with Brown planned a small gathering, but nearly 100 people showed up. They left candles and balloons in his honor.
Mitchell's mother said she will now always carry unimaginable pain in her heart.
"He's my best friend. What am I supposed to do, what am I supposed to do," said Delores Gillespie.
Sunday night the family and friends of Mitchell want everyone to know their loved one is more than just a number, more than a somber milestone.
"My son was a nice son, I miss my son already right now. I just miss my son," Gillespie said.
Gillespie somehow found the strength to attend the vigil at the spot off of Blue Hills Avenue where her son was killed. Reverend Samuel Saylor, who lost a son to violence, told Gillespie the gatherings make a difference.
"My son had fallen and I needed the world to know that he was appreciated by having the family members and friends. it made a difference and it led to the arrest and conviction of his assailant," Saylor said.
Gillespie hopes that one day she can forgive the person who murdered Mitchell, but the only way that can happen is if she faced the person in a courtroom.
"I just want justice. If anybody knows anything or saw anything, please come forward, please I'm begging you," Gillespie said.
Mitchell's loved ones said he made mistakes in the past, including a gun conviction, but they said he had recently dedicated his life to his six-year-old son, Jaden.
Hartford saw 19 murders in total in 2014. The violence this year has caught the attention of residents and city leaders who requested assistance from state officials.
Police have accepted the help of three State Police detectives, however, they are still hoping to get some funds to help cover the cost of overtime and extra officers.
In addition, the city has re-established their shooting task, however, they do say that it is understaffed and neighboring towns have not signed on as they did in the past.
The city's police force is down 80 officers from one year ago.
Mayor Pedro Segarra decided to put his campaign for re-election on hold Sunday following the violence, according to campaign staff. On Sunday afternoon he released the following statement:
"It is tragic that another individual has lost his life to a senseless act of violence. Our police department continues to work with State and Federal partners in an effort to identify these criminals before they act, without concern for life, with the goal of preventing these most violent crimes. The men and women in law enforcement work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep us safe. We are doing everything we can within our means to identify potential correlations that may assist our policing efforts. Even with a commitment of significant resources and partnerships across all levels of government, our community needs to continue to come together as government cannot address this issue alone. The reality is that each of us has a responsibility to help confront the challenges we face. We will continue to work with our community, our clergy, our not-for-profits, we will continue to reach out our young people to try and stop these acts of violence. As we have in the past during difficult times, we must remember that by pulling together we can reduce violence and not let these criminal acts define Hartford.”
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