Just one week after the homicide of 26 year-old Tyrese Jones, New Haven police responded to a similar call: at around 9 p.m. on Friday, authorities found three gunshot victims in the area around the Park St.-Howard Ave. intersection.
Twenty-two year-old Timothy Jones and 23 year-old Joshua Craggett survived the incident, but both remain in critical condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Fifteen-year-old Jacob Craggett, however, succumbed to his wounds at the hospital late Friday night, becoming the city’s ninth homicide victim of 2014.
Early reports from investigators suggest that at least two individuals approached the victims in their stopped car and opened fire. 911 operators then received multiple calls reporting gunfire at Davenport Ave. and Vernon St., just around the corner from where authorities eventually found the victims and car.
“From all indications, it seems the victims’ car was specifically targeted in this incident,” City Hall spokesman Laurence Grotheer said in a Saturday press release. “This does not appear to be a random attack.”
Police have also determined that a fourth individual, 17 year-old Jerray Jackson, was in the car at the time, but managed to escape uninjured even though “several rounds were shot into the car,” Grotheer added.
New Haven Police Department Chief Dean Esserman and Mayor Toni Harp reportedly met with the victims’ families on Friday night and Saturday morning. Both city leaders helped spearhead local efforts to stem youth violence this spring after TJ Gamble, 16, and Taijhon Washington, 17, were killed just eleven days apart. Noting that Craggett was even younger than Gamble and Washington, Harp said she will continue her fight to reverse the trend of teenage homicides.
“This heartbreaking incident underscores one more time the tragic potential of all-too-easy access to guns that have no useful purpose on city streets,” she said in Grotheer’s release.
Though the NHPD has yet to identify a suspect in this latest case, it did announce the arrest of the man they believe to be responsible for Jones’ homicide just hours before Jacob Craggett’s death.
On Friday morning, department spokesman David Hartman announced that police arrested 19 year-old Errol Godfrey-Hill for carrying a gun without having a permit on Aug. 2. After securing a warrant to search his Vernon St. home, they found evidence linking Godfrey-Hill to the shooting from the night before and later charged him with first-degree assault and Jones’ murder.