Victim Shot For Unknown Reason Outside Sister's Home
May 25, 2005
By MATT BURGARD, Courant Staff Writer
Lakeisha Jones stared at the sidewalk in front of her home
in Hartford on Tuesday, trying to reconcile the fact that the
pool of congealing blood on the concrete marked the spot where
her brother, Demarco Mitchell, was shot and killed Monday night.
"He was here most of the day yesterday,
laughing and having a good time with everybody like he usually
does," Jones said. "The last thing he said to me was
`I love you,' which is what he always tells everyone before he
leaves. Now we'll never hear that again."
Mitchell, 28, the father of two young boys, became the city's
10th homicide victim of the year Monday night when he was shot
by an unknown gunman in front of Jones' home at 103 Colebrook
St. in the city's Blue Hills neighborhood.
Hartford police said Mitchell was shot as he parked his car
on the side of the road about 9 p.m. As he was getting out of
the car, a gunman walked up and got into the back seat of the
car and the two apparently got into an argument, police said.
Mitchell struggled to get out of the car, and was shot in the
head as he walked onto the sidewalk, police said. The gunman,
who was still at large Tuesday, then ran away, police said.
Assistant Police Chief Mark R. Pawlina, who heads the department's
detective bureau, said the gunman may have been trying to rob
Mitchell, but the motive was still unclear Tuesday.
Many of Mitchell's family members gathered at the spot where
he was shot late Tuesday morning as friends and relatives stopped
by to offer their sympathies. After scouring the crime scene
for clues for several hours, detectives left about 4 a.m., leaving
behind the pool of blood on the sidewalk.
"It's horrible. Kids were walking right past all this blood
on their way to school this morning," said Mitchell's aunt,
Mary Jackson. "The city should send someone over to clean
Instead, Jackson and Jones carried pots full of hot water and
poured them onto the sidewalk in an effort to wash away the blood.
"What worries me is what kind of impact this has on our
children," said the Rev. Donald Johnson, a Hartford anti-violence
activist who stopped by the house to offer his support to the
family. "So many kids are being exposed to violence in these
neighborhoods that they're starting to think it's a normal part
of life. It doesn't shock them."
But Jones said her 5-year-old son, who heard the sound of four
shots ringing out from his bedroom when Mitchell was killed,
was so shaken by the incident that she kept him home from school
"He kept asking, `Where's Uncle Markie?'" she
Jones said her brother graduated
from Goodwin College in East Hartford and was pursuing a career
as a nurse's aide.
He had recently applied for a job at Maxim Healthcare Services
in East Hartford, and he was scheduled to go through orientation
today, an official at Maxim said Tuesday.
"He was getting his life on track, taking his boys to church
every week, trying to do the right thing," Jones said. "Now
two more little boys are going to grow up without a father."
She said the boys, ages 3 and 9, will likely be raised by their
"I've been living on Colebrook Street for a long time and
I've never seen anything like this happen here," she said. "There's
no place safe left in Hartford, it seems like."
Along with Mitchell's killing, police were also investigating
a shooting that happened about 7:30 p.m. Monday, when an 18-year-old
man arrived at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center with a
gunshot wound to the chest, police said. The victim, identified
as Gregory Hopkins of East Hartford, was in serious but stable
condition Tuesday, police said. A witness told police that Hopkins
was shot on Capen Street and then driven to the hospital by a
friend, police said. No arrests had been made in the case as
of Tuesday afternoon.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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