By STEVEN GOODE And HILDA MUŅOZ | Courant Staff Writers
August 26, 2008
The irony of Monday morning's fatal shooting of two men in Hartford was not lost on the Rev. Henry Brown.
"Less than five hours before we marched on the state Capitol, two more men got shot dead in the street," said Brown, who led about 100 protesters fed up with the gun violence from Main Street and Albany Avenue to the Capitol on Monday morning.
The shootings occurred on Edwards Street about 3:15 a.m. Police said that a 21-year-old black man and a 24-year-old Hispanic man were walking from Papa's Pizza on Union Place when a white Nissan Maxima pulled alongside them and someone inside opened fire. Both men died at the scene.
The men, who police did not name pending positive identification and notification of family members, were shot on a section of the street that spans railroad tracks. The location, 20 feet above the tracks and lined by a 6-foot-high chain-link fence, gave the victims no chance to seek cover.
Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts said Monday that police did not know the motive for the shooting.
Brown, however, said that judging from the location, it appeared that the men were targeted.
"It looks like they just waited for them to get to that spot and they had no place to hide," Brown said, adding that the number of shootings in the city has escalated since 15-year-old Jakeem Tully was shot and killed July 22.
"We're in the middle of a gang war and the curfew don't mean a hill of beans," Brown said.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell was not at the Capitol at the time of the protest, spokesman Chris Cooper said.
Cooper said that the governor sees the shooting as a tragedy and that she feels for the families of all those involved.
On Aug. 14, the city initiated a 30-day emergency curfew for people under 18 after an especially violent weekend in which 11 people were shot and 21-year-old Ezekiel Roberts was killed at the end of the West Indian parade.
On Monday afternoon, a woman who declined to give her name said she thought that the curfew was helping keep young people out of harm's way. The news of the double homicide a short distance from her Spring Street residence did not surprise her, though.
"I was up and I heard the shots," she said. "I just thought, 'Here they go again.'"
Police have made no arrests in the killings and are seeking help from the public. Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Robert Davis of the major crimes division at 860-757-4256. Those with information also may call the Crime Stoppers Tipline at 860-722-8477 (TIPS).
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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