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Anti-Violence Rally Set For Site of Man's Slaying

By Matt Burgad, Hartford Courant Staff Writer
May17, 2005

Community leaders are planning an anti-violence rally outside 161 Martin St., where an 18-year-old man was shot and killed Saturday in Hartford, in an effort to persuade the young man's friends to not seek revenge against his assailant.

As a crowd of young men huddled near a makeshift shrine set up to commemorate murder victim James Carter on Monday, community activists Henry Brown and the Rev. Donald Johnson looked on with concern.

``Things are tense on Martin Street,'' said Brown, who along with Johnson is known for his efforts to curb youth violence in Hartford neighborhoods, especially the North End. ``Those kids aren't saying nothin' to nobody right now. They're just biding their time, letting their anger build. We as a community need to step in to prevent some other kid from getting killed.''

The young men who gathered at Carter's shrine Monday would not identify themselves, but they spoke passionately to Brown about the need to make sure their friend did not die in vain. They sat around a collection of empty liquor bottles and candles beneath a canopy tent, vowing to avenge the death of their friend. Carter, who had ties to East Hartford and Hartford, was known on the street as ``Squint.''

``Someone's going to pay, that's just the way it is,'' one young man said. ``People think we're all a bunch of gangsters anyway.''

Nearly 48 hours after the slaying, city police had not officially released the name of the victim. Hartford police officials, including Police Chief Patrick J. Harnett and department spokeswoman Nancy Mulroy, were not available to comment on the investigation into the city's latest slaying, the ninth of the year.

The chief state medical examiner's office said Carter died of multiple gunshot wounds, confirming accounts from witnesses that Carter was shot as many as five times after getting into an argument with another man over a girl.

The two young men exchanged punches after the girl, who was present at the incident, said something to provoke the man who shot Carter, according to a man who said he witnessed the shooting.

Police have confirmed that, in the moments after the shooting took place about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Carter was taken to the hospital in the car of a woman who was driving by and was stopped by a group of Carter's friends who asked her to take him there. On the way there, however, the car was stopped by police officers who wanted to make sure the young man was not armed, police said.

Many of Carter's friends, including one who said he witnessed the incident, said police pulled Carter from the vehicle during the stop, and patted him for weapons as blood continued to pour from his body. Police officials said officers provided first aid to Carter until an ambulance arrived to stabilize him.

Carter's friends acknowledged Monday that Carter likely would have died from his injuries despite the police stop. But they expressed outrage that officers would remove him from the car and pat him down instead of making sure he was OK.

``If someone's got blood coming out of their mouth, you don't move him like that, take him out of the car and put him on the sidewalk,'' one young man said.

Brown said he feared that the brewing anger being displayed by Carter's friends would translate into more violence within the next few days.

``Those boys know who did this, and whoever it is, they better not show up around here any time soon,'' Brown said. ``We've had enough young men dying around here.''

Johnson said he contacted the leaders of several North End churches Monday to make sure they would spread the word about today's rally, which is set to begin at 5 p.m. at the spot where Carter was killed.

``It's getting too hot out here, too hot for people who care to take a pass,'' he said. ``If you want all this nonsense to stop, you have to do something about it.''

Two Hartford state legislators, Sen. John Fonfara and Rep. Art Feltman, are planning a community forum on public safety May 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bellizzi Middle School on South Street.

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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