A community leader who battled and beat a drug addiction, and devoted his life to fight against the epidemic, was killed in a shooting over the weekend.

Groton police confirm that the victim, 24-year-old Joey Gingerella, was intervening a fight outside of a bar on Fort Hill Road when he was shot and killed.

Police said 30-year-old Dante Hughes is the man who shot and killed Gingerella early Sunday morning. Was captured by police at the Canadian border.

“It's just a needless tragedy,” said Groton Police Chief Louis Fusaro Jr.

Fusaro said Gingerella was intervening a fight outside Ryan’s Pub, trying to be the peacemaker, when he was shot multiple times.

“That's what we believe happened in this case. He was intervening with other parties and fell victim to this senseless tragedy,” Fusaro said.

Hughes was convicted earlier this year for interfering with an officer.

“It would be in their best interest for him to turn himself in,” Fusaro said.

While the active investigation continues, a community mourns.

Gingerella is well-known in Groton, not just because his stepfather was recently elected as a state representative, but also because his family bravely confronted Joey's one-time drug addiction.

They founded "Community Speaks Out," an outreach support group for families going through the struggles of addiction.

Friends say Gingerella was sober for a long time and became a vocal advocate, often meeting with families face-to-face.

“He had a sober softball tournament to honor my son,” said Lisa Cote Johns, of Community Speaks Out.

She said she lost her son to addiction and thought of Gingerella as a second son.

After Gingerella fought through addiction, she never thought she’d lose him, especially not in the way he died.

“He was a sweetheart and we're all broken. He's a hero,” Cote Johns said.

Groton police said the pub was taken over by new management, and problems have been on a decline.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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