Shooting kills young homicide victim

Days after police found two gunshot victims outside a nearby elementary school, more details have emerged in the city’s latest homicide case.

On Monday night, New Haven Police Department officers were dispatched to the intersection of Lilac Street and Butler Street outside Lincoln-Bassett Elementary School. There, 17-year old Taijhon Washington and his 16-year old half-brother whose name was withheld due to his age, were lying shot on the sidewalk. Washington, a New Haven resident, would later become the Elm City’s fifth homicide victim of 2014.

“Both of the shooting victims were transported by ambulance to Yale-New Haven hospital,” NHPD spokesman David Hartman said in a Tuesday press release. “At 9:28 PM, one of the victims was pronounced deceased.”

The school is located at 130 Bassett St., less than two miles from Yale’s campus. No suspect has been identified.

Washington’s half-brother, a Hamden resident, was listed as being in critical condition on Tuesday. As of Wednesday, police had not provided an update on his status.

Officers were initially concentrated around the school, but reports of a third shooting victim drew them to a nearby apartment complex on Newhall Street There, they found an assault victim with minor injuries, but investigators have since determined that any connection to the shooting incident is unlikely.

Detectives from the department’s Major Crimes Division and Bureau of Identification are still working on the investigation, Hartman said.

On Tuesday night, more shots were fired just down the road from the school around 99 Bassett St, but police indicated that this incident was also unrelated to Washington’s homicide.

New Haven Public Schools Superintendent Garth Harries ’95 said in a statement that Washington was not enrolled in any of the district’s schools at the time of his death. Washington was a student at Hillhouse High School for some time last year, but did not complete the academic term.

“Many in our school community have been impacted deeply by this tragedy,” Harries said in a statement on Tuesday. “This kind of violence is unacceptable for the community and for our students.”

Harries added that social workers and grief counselors have been made available to students in schools across the district to provide emotional support to those affected by Monday’s crime.

Harries has also enlisted the NHPD’s help to focus police resources around Lincoln-Bassett and the city’s other high schools “to ensure additional safety precautions,” he said in the statement.

Rev. William Mathis, a local antiviolence activist and director of anti-violence program Project Longevity, said the effects of this latest homicide have been felt throughout the city.

“I grieve because I know that there are many people across our community from all entities who are seeking resolution,” Mathis said. “We all have to be open and available to new paradigms that include the voice of those who are involved.” He added that when students are no longer enrolled in school, they often become at risk for behavior that is not in their long-term best interest.

Mathis added that he has not encountered many incidents involving victims who are related to each other over his time working in New Haven.

Four of the city’s five 2014 homicides have been linked with street violence or gang activity.

 

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