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Father Of 2 Is City's 10th Homicide

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.

Hartford Homicides
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"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 it up."

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 Tuesday.

"He kept asking, `Where's Uncle Markie?'" she said.

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 respective mothers.

"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. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.


| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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