Fair Haven resident murdered

A New Haven resident was murdered in the city’s Fair Haven neighborhood Tuesday morning, the city’s third homicide of the year.

Around 2:50 a.m. Tuesday, officers found a man lying in the driveway between two houses on Lloyd Street in the Fair Haven neighborhood. New Haven Police spokesman Joe Avery said the man was found unresponsive and the officers at the scene called the Major Crime Unit’s detectives, who declared the case a homicide later that morning.

Fair Haven, a traditionally high-crime area, has seen one of the largest drops in crime of any city area in the past year. Overall, crime in the city declined last year — 2009 was New Haven’s safest year on record.

Though the motive behind the murder has not been determined, the blocks around the crime scene have been the site of several shootings in the past year. Sunday evening, Thomas Pedraza, 51, who lives just a block from where the unidentified man was found dead Tuesday morning, called police to his house and told the officers that two men on bicycles wearing dark clothing had rode by his house and fired five to six shots into the air, Avery said. Both Pedraza and his son have been the victims of recent shootings at that location.

Police have not said whether they have identified the man murdered Tuesday or whether the homicide is related to a recent string of non-fatal shootings in the area that have left three people injured or to a recent murder spree during which eight ex-felons were shot in the head.

During another shooting in Fair Haven Monday night, a man was shot three times in the hand and thigh.

Though there have been three shootings recently on the two blocks on Lloyd Street between Woolsey and Clay Streets in Fair Haven, Lewis singled out the neighborhood as a whole at a press conference last week as the most improved area of the city where public safety is concerned.

“There is an emerging Fair Haven, and it’s not the old Fair Haven,” he said.

The murder rate in Fair Haven dropped 88 percent in 2009, from eight homicides to one. The number of shootings in the area fell 49 percent, from 134 in 2008 to 68 last year. Murders and shootings dropped 48 percent and 11 percent across the entire city in 2009.

The murder was not the only violent crime Tuesday morning. At 11:11a.m., Officers responded to Shelton Avenue in the Newhallville neighborhood to investigate reports that multiple shots had been fired in the area. When officers arrived, they found five discharged shell casing and a tan 2005 Kia Sedona Van, riddled with bullet holes. Witnesses told police occupants of a red Toyota Celica had done the shooting. No one was injured during the incident, and the vehicle was towed to the police garage for processing.

Until this weekend, shootings in New Haven were down 44 percent for the year to date.

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