As friends and family members honored the latest victim of gun violence in Hartford, city leaders were unveiling what they hope will be a secret weapon to cut down on the number of shootings in the capital city.
Investigators at the Hartford Police Department were pleased that there was a dramatic drop in homicides throughout the city in 2016, but there was a slight increase in total shootings.
Hartford leaders hope a new task force can play a role in reversing that disturbing trend.
Five federal agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, DEA, and ATF will team up with local officers as part of the new task force.
"We're grateful for everything our federal and state partners have done for a long, long time to help make our city safer,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “This is an opportunity to take that partnership to the next level...bring some of those resources in and a focused effort to combat gun violence."
The task force will be called the Focused Violence Reduction Team.
As law enforcement agents were discussing their plan Thursday evening, a few miles away, Reverend Henry Brown and Mother’s United Against Violence held a vigil in memory of Heriberto Rodriguez, who was murdered. That vigil was also an effort to hope for an end to Hartford’s gun violence.
"This is why we're out here tonight, saying enough is enough and we're tired of the violence,” Brown said, adding that he believes any step that could reduce the number of the vigils is worth taking.
Hartford Police Chief James Rovella is optimistic the task force can really make a difference because he says nearly all of the gun crimes are committed by a very tiny portion of the population.
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