Two slain Wednesday

Two city residents were murdered Wednesday, continuing a violent spring for New Haven.

Two men were shot just after midnight in apparently unrelated incidents, New Haven Police Department Spokesman Joseph Avery said in a press release. Officers found Kevin Lee, 34, with three gunshot wounds on the front porch of 505 Valley St. in the Westville neighborhood at 12:27 a.m.. Just 20 minutes later, patrol officers responded to the Cinque Green apartment complexes across from Union Station and located Isaiah Gant, 23, suffering from an gunshot wound to the head. Both men were found dead on the scene, marking New Haven’s 12th and 13th murder victims of the year, matching 2009’s total, and on pace to exceed 2010’s 24 homicides.

“Gun violence is unacceptable we need to do more with our criminal justice agencies on local, state, and federal level to address this issue and the issue of offenders returning to our community,” NHPD Chief Frank Limon said in a press release.

These murders come less than a week after a 17 year-old was killed in the Dixwell neighborhhod April 16. Since the beginning of March, New Haven has seen nine homicides — the highest two-month total since at least 2003.

Last week, prior to the three most recent murders, Limon told the News that the city’s homicide figures are inflated by a double domestic homicide and a triple arson, both types of crimes which Limon said it is difficult for the NHPD to prevent. Limon said his primary goal is to increase the number of homicide arrests to create a deterrent effect — keeping murderers off the streets and showing that crime pays.

Avery said that although detectives are still gathering facts and can not release details at the time, investigators have already identified suspects in both incidents.

Officers found marijuana and drug packaging materials inside of the building where Lee was found, Avery said. He added that Kenmonah Gibson, the owner of the residence, did not cooperate with investigators regarding details of the incident and has been arrested and charged with multiple drug violations.

Gant was reportedly involved in an argument with a subject just prior to the shooting. Both Lee and Gant have criminal records, Avery said.

April was the deadliest month last year with five murders, a spree that immediately preceeded Limon’s Apr. 5 swearing-in ceremony.

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