Boy's Shooting Highlights Risks For Some Hartford Families
May 26, 2006
By TINA A. BROWN, Courant Staff Writer
Carlton and Melandie Forbes work hard providing a good life for their children in the middle-class Blue Hills neighborhood of Hartford, hoping to avoid street violence more common in other parts of the city.
They sent their youngest son, Carlton "D.J." Forbes Jr., 14, to Cromwell Middle School. And, they say, the teenager is pretty much an average kid, who likes his dirt bike and playing, football, baseball and basketball. He hates Spanish, his father says, and doesn't like cleaning his room or doing his chores.
Carlton Jr. also likes hanging out with his cousins who live in a rougher neighborhood - a choice that proved dangerous about 5 p.m. Wednesday when he became a victim of a drive-by shooting.
Melandie Forbes said her son was hanging with his cousins in the playground at the Milner Elementary School on Magnolia Street, when, just about the time he was expected to call his mother to pick him up for dinner, he was shot in the stomach.
"It's crazy," she said. "They were in the playground. It's the neighborhood."
The neighborhood where Carlton Jr. was shot borders Albany Avenue, where an ongoing turf-based dispute between rival gangs has sparked sporadic violence. But, the Forbeses said, you don't have to be in a gang to get shot. Carlton Jr., they said, isn't, but the nature of the violence makes anyone on the street vulnerable.
"They don't care who they shoot. The city needs some preventive measures vs. reactive measures," said Carlton Forbes, a contractor. "Put them to work."
Now, the Forbeses are calling for justice from police and increased efforts from city officials to stop the violence.
Melandie Forbes said she and her husband have provided a stable home for Carlton Jr. and their two other sons, but "they still get caught in the mix."
Witnesses, police said, reported that someone in a white car opened fire on the group of teenagers hanging around the playground of the elementary school. Carlton, the only one injured, was stabilized after surgery Wednesday night at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, his parents said.
He is expected to recover.
The youngster was one of four people injured during three separate drive-by shootings reported between 5 p.m. Wednesday and 12:45 a.m. Thursday on Magnolia Street, Martin Street and Sterling Street. Police say the shootings are not connected. None of the people shot sustained life-threatening injuries.
Police said that about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, Lisa Young, 22, and Andrew Jewles, 33, were standing outside 54 Martin St. when a light-colored van pulled up. Someone opened the door and opened fire.
The two people shot were at a cookout, witnesses and police said, and people in the neighborhood heard seven or eight shots. After Young was shot, she got into a black Maxima and tried to drive herself to the hospital. She had been shot twice in the leg. Her car crashed on Albany Avenue.
When police returned to Martin Street to continue the investigation, the officers found Jewles, who had been shot three times in the chest, police said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at