HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday evening for a teen shot and killed in Hartford while visiting the memorial of a friend also gunned down in the city. The vigil also honored all the other children killed by gun violence this year in the capital city.
Waldemar ‘Waldy’ Santiago, 16, was shot and killed after leaving a memorial for one of his friends – a 17-year-old who had been fatally shot. He visited the memorial Monday and spoke with family and friends about the loss of his friend. On his way home, Waldy was shot and killed. His is the 28th homicide of the year in the capital city.
Prayers rose up from the streets of Hartford Tuesday for Waldy. Reverend Henry Brown said there have been too many young lives lost this year.
“I was trying to get the people to see the significance of the precious lives being lost, and we have to change our perception,” Rev. Henry Brown explained. “You would think that when the three-year-old was killed that day the city would’ve changed for the better, but it got worse after that.”
At the vigil, Waldy’s aunt addressed the crowd, “And whoever did this I hope they pay the way they have to pay. I want justice because I don’t wish this on anybody. Nobody will understand what my sister is going through, what my family…that was my nephew he was only 16 years old!”
There is a group that knows exactly what it feels like, who have lost their own children in the streets: Mothers United Against Violence (MUAV). These parents are now helping others get through their own tragedies.
“My son was murdered on S. Marshall Street,” one member said.
“My sister got killed by a serial killer,” another said.
Donnie Williams of MUAV explained, “I watched my nephew in the hospital laying there with some false hope that he might survive, but he had too many bullets in him.”
Pamela Joiner of MUAV added, “When my son got murdered there were at least eight or 10 people there, and they were all associates, and none of them ever said anything. That’s why when they say the police are not doing their job, the police are doing their job, it’s up to the people in the community to speak up.”
Waldy’s aunt said, “I want to thank the police department as well for them doing their job, all of the detectives, all of you guys and I know that justice is going to be served. This justice is going to be served.”
Police say they do have some leads and are actively working the case, as well as the case of the 17-year-old who was shot; they’re continuing to make progress as they push it forward.