Talat Aman, Contributing Photographer
On Jan. 16, Fair Haven resident Jorge Osorio-Caballero was found dead with gunshot wounds in his personal vehicle. Almost two months later, his killer has yet to be found.
Unidad Latina en Acción, a local immigrant workers activist group, is now protesting what they call a lack of progress on the investigation into Osorio-Caballero’s death. On Wednesday afternoon, ULA organized a caravan to call on the city government to take action. Over two dozen community members attended to express their solidarity. ULA organizers and family members spoke about Osorio-Caballero’s personal life and stressed that they were an integral part of the New Haven community whose voices deserved to be heard.
“It’s good that [the police] are trying to figure out who killed [Kevin Jiang ENV ’22], but what about Jorge?” ULA Community Organizing Director John Lugo asked. “What about the other five people who were also members of the community and got killed? Where is the justice?”
Osorio-Caballero’s shooting activated a ShotSpotter gunshot detection system in the area of Grand Avenue at Lloyd Street in Fair Haven, according to a Jan. 17 New Haven Police Department press release. Upon arrival, officers discovered Osorio-Caballero’s vehicle crashed into the side of a building on Grand Avenue.
New Haven medical personnel transported Osorio-Caballero to Yale New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Friends and family members of Osorio-Caballero remember him as a caring and hard-working man. Speakers at the event said that he was loved by those around him and that he engaged in social activities such as soccer and biking.
“He was hardworking and very charismatic,” Osorio-Caballero’s uncle Jose Romero said. “He liked to help people and sent money back home to Mexico for his parents.”
Romero voiced a concern common among speakers and attendees of the event — that unlike other higher-profile investigations, members of New Haven’s immigrant community are receiving less attention. Though Romero was careful not to detract from the tragedy of Kevin Jiang’s death, he highlighted the significant media attention surrounding the shooting in comparison to deaths in the Latinx community.
Yale University spokesperson Karen Peart told the News that she and Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins believe that all such incidents should be thoroughly investigated.
“Any tragedy in the community is a major loss and should have the full attention and efforts of authorities charged with investigating,” Peart said.
Romero said that advocates will continue to protest for Osorio-Caballero and other shooting victims until the police and City Hall “listen” to their demands — which include a more sustained effort on the part of law enforcement to investigate Osorio-Caballero’s death.
“I think this silence hurts everybody — the community, the friends, the family,” Lugo said. “It’s time for the chief of police, the mayor to start meeting with the families and give some answers.”
Sergeant Bertram Ettienne, NHPD supervisor in charge of investigations, told the News that the department will continue to investigate the homicide and share information with Osorio-Caballero’s family.
“Detective Conklin has and will continue to update the family as needed,” Ettienne said. “Any detailed information released at this time may adversely affect the investigation.”
Mayor Justin Elicker did not respond to a request for comment as of Wednesday evening.
A lifelong friend of Osorio-Caballero’s uncle, Alberto Miranda, told the News in Spanish of his concerns regarding NHPD’s investigation.
“The thing is that the police don’t give us a clue about anything,” Miranda said. “Without being a police officer, I know that there are cameras in every corner and it was a busy street where there’s many businesses. … We’re not asking them for a favor, it’s their job.”
Though NHPD has not yet released the names of any suspects, Lugo added that there are rumors in the community over the identity of the shooter. The rumored identity of the perpetrator was not disclosed at Wednesday’s event.
According to an NHPD CompStat report, as of Feb. 28, there have been seven homicides in the Elm City since the beginning of 2021. This number is up 600 percent from this time last year. The names of the victims are Alfreda Youmans, Jeffrey Dotson, Jorge Osorio-Caballero, Marquis Winfrey, Joseph Vincent Mattei, Kevin Jiang and Angel Luis Rodriguez.
Catherine John, a member of ULA and coordinator of Black and Brown United, claimed the slow pace of the police’s investigation was part of a “larger problem.”
“We have had this happen across New Haven. Anything that happens to us we’re supposed to suffer and bear with it,” John said. “Nobody had a COVID layaway plan. Nobody had money set aside. We had people who lost jobs. … Where’s the money and resources for that? … We need a mayor who actually cares about our people.”
Osorio-Caballero’s girlfriend, Daisy Santizo, told the News in Spanish about her frustration with the police department’s lack of communication. She said that all she wants is “justice” and “to know what happened.”
“It’s not fair that you get assassinated 25 minutes from your home,” she said.
Osorio-Caballero was 32 years old.
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