Hundreds of people gathered in Hartford on Sunday afternoon to mourn the loss of a 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed Friday night.
Keon Huff Jr. was shot in the head while he was inside a home on Garden Street. It happened around 9:30 p.m. on Friday.
On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered on Garden Street where a vigil was held in memory of Huff Jr. Folks who knew Huff Jr. and those who never met him told Eyewitness News the cycle of violence within in the City of Hartford must stop.
"We are here today because our community has been shaken to the core," said organizer of Mothers United Against Violence, the organization that held the vigil, Reverend Henry Brown said to the crowd. "We are here because we lost a baby."
"People need to not be afraid to come forward if they know something,” Brown spoke to the crowd of mourners, not far from the scene where Huff Jr was killed. The group remembered the young man who they say loved basketball and played regularly at the Wilson-Gray YMCA on Albany Ave. in Hartford.
Rev. Brown saying "someone in this crowd knows what happened." "You are not a snitch. Do not let a killer walk among us. " pic.twitter.com/kyICFeDPTm— Patricia Del Rio (@patriciadelrio) March 19, 2017
Brown, along with Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, the police chief, and other community organizers, said the city needs to take its streets back from the violence.
Huff’s death is the city’s eighth homicide this year, and “the youngest life lost in a long, long time,” Bronin said.
In a statement on Saturday, Bronin said just last year he had personally sat down with Huff Jr., talking to him about his future.
“Keon was in direct contact with many of our close community partners, who were trying hard to mentor him and get him the support he needed,” Bronin said, adding that as a society “we’re failing too many young men like Keon."
“As a society, we all bear responsibility for doing better - not just at getting guns off the street, not just at arresting violent criminals, but at actually supporting those young people who are at risk of being on either side of a gun, long before a tragedy like this happens,” Bronin said.
Joining Rev. Brown and Mayor Bronin, Brother Carl Hardrick had personally mentored Huff Jr., and described to Eyewitness News, a boy who battled a life of good and evil.
"We used to say, 'Keon, look if you can ever straighten out, you are a leader.' People love you. You can see he had that love of people in the Y, but he had the love of the street," explained Brother Carl. "But he always felt he wanted to be accepted."
Family told Eyewitness News that Huff Jr led a tough life, raised by his grandmother, bouncing between relatives and getting into trouble along the way.
"Sweet smile, happy go lucky," Huff Jr.'s grandmother, Daisy Moret, described him. "Just the streets took him. What can I say? I did the best I could."
No arrests have been made at this time, but police are investigating. A service will be held for Huff Jr. at the YMCA on Monday at 4pm.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses. It can be found here.
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