HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — City leaders expressed anger and called for action after separate shootings in Hartford claimed the life of a 16-year-old and 3-year-old.
The shootings occurred Saturday afternoon about two hours apart and less than a mile away from each other.
In the first, 3-year-old Rondell Jones was riding in a car with his mother, two young siblings and another man when a Honda Accord pulled alongside and began firing. Police believe the man in Rondell’s car was the intended target. No one else in the car was hurt.
Both the shooter and the intended target fled after the shooting fled and had not been located Saturday night, police said. The car, which police said had been stolen from Windsor Locks, was found unoccupied an hour later.
“For anyone with a heart, a soul, anyone who’s ever loved a child, this is a crime that is unfathomable and sickening,” Mayor Luke Bronin said at a news conference. “I am heartbroken, and I am angry. When you watch the video, it is difficult to believe that the shooter did not know who he was shooting at, and it is very difficult to believe he could not see children in that car.”
In the second shooting, 16-year-old Jamari Preston suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at a hospital. A 17-year-old boy suffered injuries.
“This is a time where I believe there’s a call to action,” Hartford City Council Majority Leader T.J. Clarke said, “for anyone who has witnessed this heinous act to step up and please break the ‘street code’ by saying what they witnessed.”
After a significant spike in shootings in Hartford last fall, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont provided 15 state police troopers to aid in investigating incidents and seizing illegal weapons in the city.
Shootings decreased by the end of the year, and overall crime has declined slightly in most categories in the first three months of 2020. The two deaths Saturday equaled the number of homicides for the first three months of 2020, the Hartford Courant reported.