WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) — Police are investigating a fatal shooting involving a Windsor Locks teen at a small park on Center Street in Windsor Locks Thursday.
Thursday afternoon, the Superintendent of Windsor Locks Public Schools identified the victim as 16-year-old Elijah Ortega.
On Monday, police named 22-year-old Daniel Phillip Baez, of Hartford, as the suspect in Ortega’s murder. He is considered to be armed and dangerous.
Police have not been able to located Baez or the gun used in the homicide. Baez is described as being 6′ tall, with black hair and brown eyes, and weighing between 160-170 lbs. He also has scar from a stab wound on his left arm.
Windsor Locks Police have obtained an arrest warrant to charge him with murder, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal use of a firearm, and carrying pistol without permit and to hold him on a $1 million bond.
Friends and family gathered at the park last Thursday to mourn Elijah. They placed balloons, flowers, and a small memorial on the site he was shot.
“Elijah, a young man with a contagious smile, just completed his junior year at WLHS, and was an integral member of the Windsor Locks High School basketball team,” Superintendent Shawn L. Parkhurst said.
Jimmy Papapietro, a friend to Elijah, told News 8, “Elijah was just somebody that could always get you to laugh no matter what mood he was in. And his smile was just contagious.”
Other friends say the situation doesn’t seem real.
“He didn’t deserve this. He did not deserve this,” Keshawn Henry, Elijah’s friend said.
Windsor Locks police say that at 10:19 p.m. Wednesday, officers received 911 calls relating that someone had been shot in Pesci Park on 89 Center Street.
Officers responded to the area and found a 16-year-old, Elijah lying on the ground just outside of the baseball field. He appeared to be suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
The victim was transported to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. He was pronounced dead at 10:52 p.m.
According to police, initial investigation findings revealed a dispute had occurred between about 25 teens and adults in the park, part of two groups that had a long-running beef.
What may have just played out as a schoolyard scuffle turned deadly when an out-of-towner pulled a semi-automatic pistol and started firing numerous shots at Elijah. He was hit twice.
Lt. Paul Cherniack of Windsor Locks Police said, “It was very chaotic. A female that was part of that group, ended up breaking her leg running away from the scene.”
One or more suspects fled the park in a black or dark-colored Lexus, possibly bearing North Carolina or Connecticut plates. That car has since been located in the north end of Hartford.
According to police, there are persons of interest and the suspect and shooter appeared to have known each other. Police say they are confident they’ll make an arrest.
Police say the shooting appears to be target-specific in this case and no evidence of a threat to the general public has been established. They are looking for surveillance video and asking anyone in the crowd that night or passerby to come forward and give them any information that they have.
To assist WLHS students and families, the following supports have been put into place, effective immediately, the superintendent reported:
- Windsor Locks Public School Mental Health Practitioners are available via phone to support you and your child; please email email@example.com and you will receive a response from our staff
- Members of the WLHS Boys and Girls Basketball Team will postpone their end of the season closeout events until a later date, after July 4, 2020
- Individual, in-person counseling, (all protocols including facial coverings and social distancing will be adhered to as per the Gov. Lamont’s Executive Order), is available at Windsor Locks High School by appointment during the following times:
○ Thursday, June 25, 2020, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
○ Friday, June 26, 2020, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
○ Monday, June 29, 2020, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
○ Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
- To schedule an appointment for in-person counseling support, please email:
Investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call 860-627-1461.