Kenneth Cooper, a 35 year old Waterbury resident, was fatally shot outside an Exxon Mobil Gas Station on Whalley Avenue at 3:08 a.m. on Jan. 12, according to the New Haven Police Department.

An unidentified woman who was with the victim drove him to the hospital, where he died shortly after arriving. Joshua Council of New Haven was arrested by the NHPD on Jan. 13 and has been charged with Cooper’s murder, according to the NHPD press release.

“It is an upsetting event for … a close-knit neighborhood with many long-term residents, and we would like to see an increased police presence,” said Lizzy Donius, executive director of the Westville Village Renaissance Alliance.

Donius, who directs a community organization charged with improving economic development in Westville and organizes major events in the village, added that although Cooper’s death was “tragic,” she thinks the shooting was not typical of Westville. No residents of the neighborhood have said that they feel unsafe, she said.

Mohammad Subhan, a three-year employee at the gas station convenience store and a Fair Haven resident, said that he was not afraid to return to work after the incident since shootings can happen anywhere.

“If you feel [afraid], you won’t be able to work,” Subhan said.

Donius said that she has been in talks with City Hall and Westville’s designated district lieutenant, Manmeet Colon, to increase patrols in Westville. She added that she thinks this is the village’s first murder since 2010.

Other locals found the shooting more concerning. Richard Pepe, owner of Tripp’s Service Center, which is located a block away from the Exxon station, said that his customers said the area has seemed less safe since the shooting. Still, Pepe does not see Westville as a dangerous neighborhood, since he has worked in the area for 40 years.

Tripp’s Service Center is also situated opposite Edgewood Park — a green space outside Westville Village — which Pepe described as an unsafe area at night. The park was a scene of a crime similar to Cooper’s in 2011, he said. Although he does not feel unsafe in the neighborhood, he said he will be more cautious around people loitering around the neighborhood and is considering setting up surveillance equipment around his store.

Assistant Chief Achilles ‘Archie’ Generoso praised the thoughtful work of the officers and detectives working the case, as well as the collaboration with the Connecticut State Attorney’s Office and state probation officers, according to the press release. Pepe and Donius both said the shooter’s arrest is a relief and will undoubtedly make the neighborhood feel safer.

Neither the victim nor the woman Cooper was with were associated with the Exxon Mobil Station or the convenience store, according to the NHPD.

The gas station is located at 775 Whalley Ave.

Christina Carrafiell |