HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford Police are investigating a homicide after a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed on Martin Street early Monday morning.
Police and family members identified the teen as Waldemar Santiago of Hartford.
“Just like any other teenager, he loved to be surrounded with friends and loved ones,” Karolina Pagan, Santiago’s aunt said. “And this is not the way for a young man to go. It’s just not.”
Police said officers responded to Martin Street at around 1:10 a.m. on a report of Shot Spotter activation. Police found Santiago suffering from gunshot wounds. He was transported to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Police believe the gunshots early Monday morning came from a vehicle.
“It’s clearly targeted,” Hartford Police Lt. Aaron Boisvert said. “This was not a random act of violence.”
Local activist Rev. Henry Brown tried to console the family.
“We’re talking about a 16-year-old kid that should have been in school today that will not be going to school ever again,” Brown of Mothers United Against Violence said. “The mother had his uniform, and everything laid out this morning for him to go to school, and seeing that just brought me to tears.”
School officials said Santiago was a 9th grader at Weaver High School. Counselors and school social workers are available at the school Monday to provide support to students. The Peace Builders, an organization partnered with the school to help mitigate violence, de-escalate conflict, and build relationships, will also be on hand.
“This loss will raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our students,” Weaver Principal Tiffany Webley wrote in a letter to parents. “We extend our condolences to Waldemar’s family and friends.”
“We need to do better,” Pagan said. “These young kids are not getting to sprout into grown men. Kids are being left without brothers, fathers. Moms are left without sons. Aunts without nephews.”
The is the capital city’s 28th homicide of the year, and police said it had been over a month since the previous one.
“If you see something, say something,” Brown said. “It’s a known fact that people know who these perpetrators are that are doing these shootings. We’ve got to give these people up.”
Mothers United Against Violence will hold a prayer vigil Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the request of Santiago’s family. It will take place across the street from Fred D. Wish School at 350 Barbour St. in Hartford.
Anyone with any information regarding the case is asked to call the Hartford Police Department’s Tip Line at 860-722-TIPS (8477). Tips can be anonymous.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Waldemar Santiago based on information from the Hartford Police Department. WTNH updated this story to include the correct spelling.