NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- Residents, friends, family members and the police want justice after a baby was shot in New Haven.
"I want this investigated like if it was a kid that belonged to you," said Chief Dean Esserman of New Haven Police to his team.
New Haven Police's Thursday shift began with business as usual, just not in the usual place.
"We're taking roll call and we're going right to the scene of the crime," said Chief Esserman.
New Haven police officers from all over the city got their daily briefing in front of 60 Kensington Street, where a 16-month-old baby took a bullet from a drive-by shooter Wednesday afternoon.
"We're doing it to make a statement to the community, that we're their police, that we love their children," said Esserman, "and that we're going to bring justice to the family."
The public roll call, an idea Chief Dean Esserman brought with him from his days in Providence, is one he says he borrowed from a commissioner in England. A neighborhood on edge doesn't seem to mind a bit of police plagiarism.
"I think it's important. A baby got shot yesterday," said Tyisha Walker, a neighborhood resident. "I think we need to send a strong message that we don't want this type of behavior in our community."
With a four-year-old daughter to think of a New Haven mother says she's encouraged by the literal show of force.
"I'm hoping that they would just keep more cops around, you know, to watch, especially overnight," said Dennise Alvarez, a nearby resident.
This isn't just a morale boost. There's the even more practical matter of cornering the coward who put a toddler within an inch of his life.
"I hope a lot of people are looking out their windows and seeing New Haven's finest, and maybe encouraging them to talk," said Chief Esserman, "but, a lot of people are talking to us."
It's not just idle chatter, the Chief isn't tipping his cards, but he says he is very confident his charges will catch up with the gunman and an arrest will be made soon.
After the daily briefing, they spread out, knocking on doors and talking to residents. Walking the beat and driving the streets the police presence was definitely felt by folks there. And around noon they started bringing some people in, not necessarily suspects, but folks who the police would like to interview a bit more formally.
Neighbors tell News 8 it would make a difference if those who know something say something.
"I don't know, all we can do is pray and if everybody just bans together, it could probably be a little better, you know," said K.K., neighbor.
Little 16-month-old Tramire Miller was shot in the stomach as he sat on the porch with his aunt. Thursday, a huge teddy bear was left on that front porch. Many bullet holes can be seen in the siding of the home.
The condition of the little boy has been upgraded, he's now listed in fair condition. However, it's cold comfort for other kids there who tell News 8 they're afraid to walk out on these streets.
"Do you feel safe around here," asked News 8's Annie Rourke.
No," said Freddy Soriano.
"Why not," Rourke asked.
"Cause there's too much like drug dealings and stuff like that," Soriano said.
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