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Dispute Ends in Death

By Jon Lender, Courant Staff Writer
May 16, 2005

An 18-year-old youth died early Sunday after he was shot during a late-night argument on a North End street in Hartford, in one of four shooting incidents that marked a second consecutive bloody weekend in the city.

Hartford police Sunday withheld the victim's name, saying they needed to confirm the identity and notify relatives. The youth was shot several times in the chest about 11:30 p.m. Saturday outside 161 Martin St., and was pronounced dead 2 1/2 hours later at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

No arrests had been made in the shooting by late Sunday.

Police Saturday and early Sunday responded to three other shootings in the city that wounded two people, neither with life-threatening injuries. Over the previous weekend, three people were shot to death in the city -- one of them by police -- and two others wounded.

On Sunday, police asked persons with information about the Martin Street shooting to call the lead investigator in the case, Det. Troy Gordon of the department's major crimes division.

A press release issued by police said two people were involved in an argument when one began shooting. When police arrived moments after the shooting, they learned the victim was taken to the hospital ``by private vehicle,'' the statement said, providing no additional details.

But witnesses said Sunday that police stopped that vehicle and an ambulance completed the trip with the victim.

On Sunday, two young men standing near an impromptu memorial of candles erected alongside Martin Street said the victim was put into the car of a woman who was driving past the shooting scene. The woman was asked to drive the youth to St. Francis, said the men, who declined to identify themselves.

They said police stopped the black Pontiac Bonneville on Garden Street, less than a mile to the south, and searched the victim, delaying his treatment.

Deputy Police Chief Michael Fallon said in an interview Sunday that police stopped the Bonneville when they received its description in a radio bulletin and immediately saw it go by. Fallon said they needed to assure the youth was not armed, but they also gave the youth first aid until the ambulance arrived and medics ``stabilized him.''

Neighborhood residents said Sunday they thought the woman would now be in trouble, but Fallon said she had nothing to do with the incident other than having the victim ``stuffed'' into her car.

Police said they did not know what dispute led to the shooting. One witness on Martin Street said Sunday that it was not gang or drug-related, but a dispute between ``two young boys.''

``It wasn't over no `street' [stuff]. It was over a girl or something. ... It wasn't even that serious,'' the witness said. ``One person swung a punch, another person swung a punch, and then, you know, a gun come out.''

Police Car Rammed

A shooting incident early Saturday around the 200-block area of Wethersfield Avenue ended with police taking three people into custody late that afternoon.

Shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday, police received a report that someone in a white Chevrolet Lumina fired shots at a crowd, although no serious injuries were reported. About 12 hours later, the vehicle was reported ``circling the same area of Wethersfield Avenue,'' police spokeswoman Nancy Mulroy said.

Officers of the department's Southwest Conditions Team, in an unmarked car, spotted the Lumina heading north on Wethersfield Avenue. According to police, patrol cars tried to stop it at Stonington and Groton streets. The Lumina rammed a marked police vehicle, then fled north on Main Street and east on Charter Oak Avenue. As police followed, the driver lost control and smashed into two parked cars.

Its three occupants suffered non-life threatening injuries and were treated at Hartford Hospital, Mulroy said. Two of them -- Jorge Torres, 21, of 40 School St., East Hartford, and Angel Arroyo, 19, of 665 Garden St. in Hartford -- will face numerous charges upon their release from the hospital, Mulroy said. The third, a juvenile, was released to his parents at Hartford Hospital.

Police released sketchy accounts of the other shootings.

In one, about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, police received a report that a man had been shot near 618 Garden St. A citizen drove the man to St. Francis hospital, where he was treated for gunshot wounds in both legs.

The victim, whose name was not released Sunday, told police that several men chased him as he walked south on Garden Street, then shot him.

Police said he was unable to provide any information about his assailants, including which way they fled or why they shot him.

That incident was in the general vicinity of the fatal shooting at Martin Street an hour earlier. Mulroy said police always check whether there is any connection between such incidents, but had nothing to support such a connection Sunday.

In the fourth shooting, at 12:51 a.m. Sunday near 1023 Albany Ave., police received a report that a male victim suffered pellet wounds from a ``single shotgun discharge,'' Mulroy said. She said she did not know where he was hit, how many times, or whether he went to a hospital. Police also did not release that victim's name.

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.
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