The woman standing on her porch on Sterling Street said she wasn't surprised by gunfire that erupted just down the block one afternoon this week, despite a nighttime youth curfew initiated in Hartford last week.
"[The curfew] doesn't make a difference if they're shooting at 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Violence is going to stay here regardless of what these cops do," said the woman, who said she was too afraid to have her name published.
The shooting Wednesday afternoon was one of three that shattered a short period of calm in the city. Two men were shot multiple times in the torso. A third victim was wounded in the arm.
But Wednesday's violence does not reflect the effectiveness of the curfew, which was designed to keep young people safe, Mayor Eddie A. Perez said, because Wednesday's victim's were adults.
As of Wednesday, the city hadn't seen nighttime shootings involving young people since the curfew was put in place, proof that ushering them off the streets by 9 p.m. is working, he said.
As of Friday, 84 warnings had been issued since the curfew went into effect Aug. 14, according to the mayor's office. Police could not verify that number Friday.
Other measures, besides the curfew, designed to fight overall crime in the city are in place, he said. Among them, are a "most watched list" of people who pose a safety risk and a "shooting team" to work in conjunction with state prosecutors to investigate gun crimes.
"We don't want any shootings in the city and that's what we're working toward," he said.
Unlike the weekend shootings that were attributed to groups of armed teenagers and that prompted the curfew, Wednesday's violence was tied to a "drug beef," Perez said.
A 27-year-old man, identified as Dwayne Mais, was shot several times in the torso over what police suspect was an unpaid drug debt, police sources said.
A similar shooting occurred later that evening in a parking lot behind 221 Laurel St., police said. Although police believe it's also tied to drug debt, sources said, it is unclear whether the shootings are connected.
The victim, 42-year-old Abrey Williams, was taken to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford. Information on his status was unavailable Friday.
A third shooting victim in a separate incident arrived at St. Francis with a bullet wound to his arm, but would not cooperate with police.
The Rev. Henry Brown, of Mothers United Against Violence, said he believes the curfew is keeping kids safe, but thinks city officials can do more.
"The curfew was designed to get the kids off the street. Nothing was done to get the guns off the street," he said. "[Wednesday] night was a sign that they don't have any concern about the police. And, if they want to shoot, they'll just shoot."
His group is holding an anti-violence march at 10 a.m. Monday from Albany Avenue and Main Street to the state Capitol.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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