A 16-year-old male was killed in the Elm City Saturday night — the first youth homicide of 2015.
According to a Sunday morning press release from the New Haven Police Department, officers were dispatched to Exchange Street, roughly two miles from Yale’s campus, shortly after midnight responding to reports of a double shooting. At the scene, emergency responders attended to two victims of gunshot wounds: 20-year-old Justin Compress and the 16-year-old. Compress was shot in his shoulder, hand and wrist, but he is in stable condition, according to the release.
The two victims were shot while sitting in a car parked on Exchange Street. The 16-year-old, who was not named in the release, was pronounced deceased at Yale-New Haven Hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning. The New Haven Register reported Sunday that the deceased was Jericho Scott.
Suspect descriptions are currently not available, NHPD spokesman David Hartman said in the release.
“The only report regarding a suspect vehicle is a black or dark-colored four-door car that fled toward James Street,” Hartman wrote.
In 2008, Scott made national headlines after he was barred from playing in local baseball leagues because his pitch, which was recorded at 40 mph, was deemed too strong.
New Haven Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries ’95 said in a statement that the death marked a “sad day” for the New Haven Public Schools community.
“Each child lost to gun violence leaves an indelible mark on our community and is a heart-wrenching reminder of our urgent need to stop the killings,” Harries said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with this child’s family, his friends and with the entire school district community.”
The NHPS community will provide grief counseling and other forms of support to assist students and staff when they return to school today.
The death is the fourth homicide in New Haven this year. After two back-to-back youth homicides last year, the city created a series of programs to help reduce the amount of youth violence in the city.
Earlier in the week, Mayor Toni Harp told the News that she was proud of the reduction of youth crimes in the city. Harp said the work of organizations like YouthStat — which meets every week to discuss and analyze data concerning school truancy and the juvenile justice system and is used to identify at-risk youth — has helped significantly reduced the number of youth involved in violent crime throughout the city.
The group was created in response to a death that occurred this time last year, when 16-year-old Torrence Gamble Jr. was shot after he attended the funeral of a 17-year-old New Haven resident, who was also fatally shot. The sudden spike in youth homicides sparked action from the city and community in an attempt to prevent further youth homicides from happening.
An emergency YouthStat session will be held today to address the weekend’s shooting, Harries said in his release. He added that the NHPS community will continue to work closely with police to ensure safety in schools and the community.
“While the complex circumstances surrounding the loss of this child leave us deeply saddened and perplexed, we stand resolved to find ways to bring an end to these acts of violence among our city youth, and engage all students on positive paths for their future,” he said.