A 27-year-old man was arrested in connection with the murder of a 16-year-old girl in Waterbury on Monday night.
Officers were called to a one-car crash in the 1700 block of Thomaston Avenue around 10 p.m. on Monday. Upon arrival, police said they found the body of 16-year-old Evalyce Santiago inside the car.
"Officers did conduct a search of the vehicle and found a 16-year-old female who is now identified as Evalyce Santiago," Waterbury Police Deputy Chief Spagnolo said.
Police said Santiago suffered three gunshot wounds to her body. She had been shot in the head and hand, police added.
"I want to say to everyone Evalyce was my Angel. I am so proud of her no matter whether she is here right now with me," Wanda Plaza, who is the adoptive mother of Evalyce, said. "I am destroyed right now because she had so many things she wanted to do in life."
See photos from the scene here.
During their investigation, police determined 27-year-old Dominique Pittman was in the car and had shot Santiago prior to the crash. Police said they do not know whether or not Santiago died from the crash or the gunshot wound.
"Also on the scene at that time was the driver of the vehicle, Dominic Pittman, of Waterbury. Pittman was visibly shaken and suffered some bumps and bruises," Spagnolo said.
Police charged Pittman with murder and various weapons violations. He is being held on a $1 million and will be in Waterbury Superior Court on Wednesday.
Pittman and Santiago were in a dating relationship, police said.
Family members said Pittman has three children with Santiago's sister.
"He was my son in law. I just want the truth," Francisco Rivera, who is the adoptive father of Evalyce said. "He was dating my daughter and he has three kids with my other daughter."
"She was always happy, always wanted to have fun," Christy Rivera, who is the aunt of Evalyce, said. "It's crazy how we lost her. She was just here yesterday."
School officials said grief counselors are on hand at both Crosby and Wilby high schools to help these students process the death of someone so young. They'll return on Wednesday as well. According to school officials, Santiago was a student at Crosby who had transferred to Wilby.
"She was a good kid you know, very good in every way," Christopher Santiago, who is the biological father of Evalyce said. "She was pure a better me."
Officers continue to investigate the incident. Detectives remained on the scene well into Tuesday morning, combing the area for evidence.
“It’s a terrible thing that something would happen to an individual so young," Waterbury resident Robert Green said. "It’s a shame, it’s really a shame.”
Dozens attended a vigil for Santiago at the crash site on Tuesday evening.
"Every parent should know, hug your child before they leave hug them when they come back cause you never know when they won't come back," Francisco Rivera said.
The crash knocked out power to about 140 customers, though as of Tuesday morning, it was restored. Police said the crash snapped a couple of utility poles in half. Eversource power crews put in temporary replacements until they can replace the entire pole.
Thomaston Avenue reopened as of 10:30 a.m. and cars were once again allowed to pass through the street.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Santiago's family pay for the funeral. To donate, click here.
Stay updated with Channel 3 as more information becomes available.
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