Victim's family speaks out about woman's murder - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Victim's family speaks out about woman's murder

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Jannette Rodriguez speaks out about her cousin who was killed in Waterbury. (WFSB) Jannette Rodriguez speaks out about her cousin who was killed in Waterbury. (WFSB)

The family of woman killed in Waterbury earlier this week spoke out on Friday.

On Tuesday night, 59-year-old Helena Vargas was out delivering Chinese food when she was shot and killed.

Calling hours for Vargas were held on Friday. While family praised the work of police who made a quick arrest, they said they were troubled over how a frantic 911 call was handled.

"She was a pure soul,” Vargas’ cousin Jannette Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said when she couldn't make it to her daughter's graduation because of work, Vargas was there.

Now, those memories were all Rodriguez and others have left after Vargas’ death.

“We love her dearly.  Her smile we will miss, but at the same time that grandchild is missing his Ama, and her daughter, is her only daughter,” Rodriguez said. “What are we going to do? What is she going to do without her mother?" 

According to police, Vargas and Rolando Alverez were delivering Chinese food from Golden Wok on East Main Street when the two were lured by four teens to Linden Street. Police said the setup was simply to rob them.

Alvarez, the driver was beaten and robbed while police said Vargas was shot in the neck and killed. Police quickly arrested the four teens, including 19-year-old Anthony Wright. Police said Wright is a known Crips gang member.

"If these children that killed would have said we're hungry, she would have given them the food, she would have given the money,” Rodriguez said. “I know, that's the type of person she is."

Rodriguez said the family is not just dealing with a deep sadness over her loss, but also a scrutiny over the 911 call

Dispatcher: "That's what kind of car they were driving or you're driving." 

Caller: "Me driving, me driving." 

Dispatcher: "Not you. I don't care what you're driving. I want to know what the people that shot this lady are driving." 

The city has since placed the employee, who handled the call, on administrative leave. The seven-year veteran will be on leave while they conduct an internal affairs investigation.

But, Rodriguez said she feels that's not enough.

"We need this lady to be reprimanded and well trained, we don't need that type of person in those phone calls, we need someone who is a professional,” Rodriguez said. "Because of your attitude not having compassion, not having the time, when a woman got shot, it could have been a family member of yours."

Vargas will be laid to rest on Saturday.

Eyewitness News did speak briefly on Friday to the family of two of the four teens arrested. While they're struggling with the news, they said they wanted to express their deep condolences to the Vargas family. They added they can't imagine their pain they're going through, they're sorry for what happened, and that they are keeping the family in their prayers.

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