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Leaders in Meriden, Hartford address recent uptick in gun violence

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MERIDEN/HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There is a spike in gun violence in two Connecticut cities. Leaders in Meriden and Hartford are speaking out, letting people know what they’re doing to try and stop it.

“It’s kind of hard to see all the violence going on,” a woman in Hartford told News 8. “There’s just a lot of anger.”

We met the woman in Meriden down the street from where Sammy Ortiz was run over by a car and shot several times in August.

That deadly shooting happened during a period where Meriden had at least nine shootings in about a week.

RELATED: At least 9 shootings in Meriden since Monday; one victim’s family, friends speak out in effort to stop the violence

Since then, the police department has listed several other more recent incidents of gun violence on their Facebook page:

October 11: shots fired in the area of Ceppa Field located at 114 Gale Avenue.

October 9: shots fired on South Avenue.

October 4: Meriden Police investigated the shooting homicide of Casey Schoonover.

Those are just a few of the incidents. There have been more.

We met another woman in Hartford on Henry Street, the scene of a deadly double shooting last week.

“Shootings all over,” said the Meriden resident. “And it’s sad.”

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin held a community forum with police on Zoom Saturday to address the spike in gun violence in the capital city.

A man on the Zoom call said, “We’re here to help. We’re here to listen to any solutions people have, but we know what we’ve seen around the country is what seems to be working in a collaborative effort of investing in our communities, investing in our cities.”

Meriden’s police chief addressed the violence in the Silver City on Facebook. The police department’s page is filled with posts of recent shootings.

RELATED: Meriden ‘Stop the Violence’ rally pushes for an end to uptick in shootings

The police chief said Meriden police have gotten more than 15 firearms off the streets since July and have made several arrests. Meriden police also said most of the violence isn’t random; it is individuals targetting other individuals.

“These firearms seizures and arrests did not occur by chance,” wrote Roberto Rosado, Meriden’s Chief of Police. “Our officers and Detective Bureau have been working around the clock to solve each crime and have been doing a phenomenal job in solving these investigations. With that being said, there is more work to be done to arrest those responsible for the continued gun violence.”

The Meriden Police Department is now getting help from The FBI’s Gang Violence Task Force and from the CT Violent Crime Task Force.

In Hartford, Mayor Luke Bronin has asked Governor Ned Lamont for state police to join Hartford police in dealing with the gun violence in the capital city.

The governor granted the request.

This now means Connecticut State Troopers will be deployed throughout the city; State Police Major Crimes detectives will be embedded into the Hartford Police Department Violent Crimes Task Force. Using data and intelligence, this partnership’s focus will be identifying the group of violent actors responsible for the majority of fatal and non-fatal shootings within the city.

“As we fight back against an unusually sharp spike in gun violence, we’re dedicating every resource we have in a focused, deliberate way, and I’m glad Governor Lamont, Commissioner Rovella, the Connecticut State Police and the Department of Correction for acting quickly to work in partnership with us,” said Mayor Bronin. “It’s important to be clear that this is not a broad deployment of State Police to patrol Hartford, but a carefully targeted assignment of investigative and other specialized resources as part of a state, local, and federal partnership to directly address the drivers of this spike in gun violence.”

The Statewide Narcotics Task Force will center its investigations in Hartford, as well. It’ll concentrate on illegal and stolen guns and focus on the most violent offenders involved in the narcotics trade.

The State Police’s multi-city auto theft task force will also have a presence in Hartford. Mayor Bronin says in many instances, stolen vehicles have been linked to shootings, illegal firearms, and illegal narcotics.

Governor Lamont and Mayor Bronin adding the need for State Troopers in Hartford will be consistently reassessed, with direct input from city residents and community leaders.

When we asked the Hartford woman what she thinks the police can do to stop the gun violence, she said, “To be honest, I don’t really know if it’s in the police’s hands. I feel, as a community, we need to all do better.”

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