Hartford officials said Monday that police will detain anyone younger than 18 who violates the city’s curfew in the next month in response to recent violence, including a weekend shooting that left one man dead and six young people wounded.
“We must do this because we cannot and will not tolerate innocent people, especially children, to be victims,” Mayor Eddie Perez said.
Saturday’s shooting erupted after the annual West Indian Day parade in the city’s North End. Police said 21-year-old Ezekiel Roberts of Hartford was killed, a 7-year-old boy was shot in the head and 15-month-old Zinia Jackson was shot in the left leg. Four teens were shot.
Police were still looking for suspects and no arrests had been made.
Police said Roberts was affiliated with local gangs and was the intended target of the shooting, The Hartford Courant reported. No arrests have been made.
Roberts had been found guilty in March of accessory to first-degree assault in the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old boy in 2006. He was released on probation, but charged in June with possession of marijuana and with probation violation in August.
Perez and Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts announced new public safety measures on Monday, including a beefed-up curfew for 30 days beginning Thursday. No one under 18 will be allowed on the streets after 9 p.m. without a parent or guardian, and violators will be taken to a community center where they will be kept until their parents or guardians pick them up.
'Most Watched List'
Hartford’s regular curfew allows police to only issue citations to anyone younger than 18 on the streets after 9 p.m., according to the city’s Web site. Many U.S. cities have permanent curfews, but they often are less restrictive than Hartford’s temporary measure.
City officials said they also will be forming a “shooting team” with state prosecutors that will sharpen authorities’ focus on solving shootings, punishing shooters and deterring such crimes.
Perez, himself a former gang member, said the city will be asking the state to increase supervision of people on probation and creating a “Most Watched List” of suspects wanted for crimes or known to be associated with illegal activities.
Other actions include asking state officials to increase supervision of people on probation.
Hartford officials have been struggling to curb violence in the city of 125,000. In June, the city’s former deputy mayor was beaten and robbed while walking to breakfast, and a surveillance camera recorded cars zooming around a 78-year-old pedestrian who was laying helpless in the street after being struck by a speeding car.
No arrests have been made in those incidents, which prompted Chief Roberts to suggest that the city lost its moral compass.