‘Don’t give up because we’re not giving up’: New Haven PD address how it’s working to curb rise in violent crime in the city

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Monday, New Haven city officials addressed the recent rise in violent crime in the city. It comes after four shootings on Thanksgiving Day alone and as murders have more than doubled since 2019.

RELATED: New Haven community, city leaders rally against violence in Cedar Hill neighborhood after three shot on Thanksgiving Day

Police announced a series of arrest warrants and grand jury indictments issued for what they call some of the main drivers behind the violence. Yet, victims and their families told News 8 they worry justice might never come.

“It’s not even so much of the anger that we had, it’s the not knowing,” said Angel Hubbard, cousin of Divonne “DJ” Coward.

Hubbard and her family want to know who shot and killed Private First Class Coward. DJ, as he was known, recently left the Army with an honorable discharge, hoping to turn his military experience into a small business that would provide for his 6-year-old son.

RELATED: New Haven PD identifies victim of fatal shooting on Exchange Street

Instead, the family said DJ became a victim of New Haven’s violent uptick in gun violence. Officers found his bullet-ridden body outside a home on Exchange Street on Sept. 30. The case remains unsolved.

“I need closure on understanding why did this happen, who did this, why they did this,” said Hubbard.

“Anyone living in the community deserves to feel safe,” said Mayor Justin Elicker during a virtual press conference Monday afternoon.

The mayor and Police Chief Otoniel Reyes addressed the city’s rise in crime and announced the arrest or identification of four shooting suspects in cases as recent as Friday, and as far last as last year. 

Chief Reyes also announced that a partnership with federal prosecutors and the FBI has yielded five grand jury indictments of suspects he believes are responsible for much of the city’s street violence. 

“Make no bones about it, these individuals are directly connected to the violence in the city,” he said.

As for families like DJ’s who are worried their loved ones’ cases will grow cold as the city deals with a barrage of cases, Chief Reyes said, “We will not forget about their case. We will continue working on their cases. We never forget about the cases. Don’t give up, because we’re not giving up.” 

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