Few suspects in violent weekend

A weekend of violence in New Haven left two dead and sent three to the hospital, one of whom remains in critical condition, and most of the perpetrators are still at large.

Police are still seeking those responsible for one non-fatal double-shooting and two fatal shootings. They found this year’s seventh homicide victim just after midnight Saturday in the Dwight neighborhood. The victim, Kenneth Bagley, 31, of Hamden, was found slumped in the driver’s seat of his car, shot multiple times and barely alive. He died shortly after he was rushed to a local hospital.

Two other men were also shot Saturday morning across town in the Hill neighborhood. Police said one of the victims, Devaro Taylor, 20, was shot in the chest and is in critical condition. The other victim, Antuwan Washington, 23, was shot in the foot and was released from the hospital after his wound was treated.

Sunday afternoon, an unidentified 17 year-old suffered a life-threatening gunshot to the head in Newhallville, New Haven Police Department spokesman Joe Avery said in a statement. Police said they are investigating the incident.

Since October 2009, 13 men have been shot to death in New Haven, and police have not solved any of the murders. Six of the seven murders that occurred before February were in the Dixwell and Newhallville areas, while four of the six murders since February were in the Hill and Dwight neighborhoods. Many of the victims were black ex-cons who were shot execution style in the head.

In response to the violence, former New Haven Police Chief James Lewis said in January that police would be raiding residences in the affected areas to gather intelligence about the crimes.

Police conducted a sweeping raid Jan. 12 in Dixwell and Newhallville, which Lewis said produced valuable tips and information about possible suspects. At the time, police said there would be more raids of the same nature, and last week, NHPD detectives raided two Newhallville locations for narcotics. One of the raids was less than a block from where one of last year’s unsolved murders occurred.

New NHPD Chief Frank Limon, who is being sworn in this morning at City Hall, has been kept abreast of the intensifying violence. Today, he is expected to lay out his plan for combating gun violence in the city. At the present pace, there will be 32 murders in New Haven by the end of the year, a level of violence not seen since the early 1990s, when New Haven’s overall crime was more than double the current level.

So far, the only arrest in connection to the weekend violence was 41-year-old Kevin Wills of New Haven, who is charged with attacking an unarmed 15-year old girl. Just after midnight Saturday, the girl was walking in New Haven’s Fair Haven neighborhood when a man with a knife grabbed her and dragged her down a vacant building’s driveway, according to police.

The teenager managed to grab the knife and stab her attacker. The girl and her alleged assailant, Wills, then sought medical attention, and Wills was arrested at a nearby hospital on charges including kidnapping and assault.

The city’s crime rate in 2009 was the lowest in the 20 years since police began keeping official records.

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