NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Loved ones of Alessia Mesquita gathered for a vigil in her honor on Thursday after police say she was gunned down by a man believed to be her boyfriend and father of her child.
The family tells News 8 the relationship between the couple was toxic and often abusive and it was something they prayed the 28-year-old mother of two would walk away from.
“When I got the phone call, I felt sick to my stomach. I felt like it wasn’t real,” Alessia’s mother Sandy said at the vigil.
Alessia was shot and killed on Clifton Street. Flowers and balloons now are all that’s left behind as family and friends gather to mourn a precious life cut short. Her family remembering her as a one-of-a-kind woman with a heart of gold.
“She was great. She was an amazing person. She loved her kids,” Vanessa McKoy, a friend of Alessia’s told News 8. “I miss her a lot. I cry every day for her.”
Police were called to the deadly incident Monday for a domestic dispute between the New Haven couple. The victim’s boyfriend and suspect in this case 27-year-old Rashod Newton was arrested earlier this week.
Police say Mesquita was shot while trying to leave a car after a dispute with Newton.
According to police records, Newton confessed to the shooting and now faces a number of charges. Investigators say their one-year-old child was in the car when those gunshots rang out. Police were able to find the baby safe and unharmed while taking Newton into custody.
Family and loved ones say this kind of loss and tragedy will stay with them forever.
Sandy recounting her las moments with her daughter on Sunday.
“I asked her, ‘Alessia where are you going?’ She said, ‘I’ll be right back. I’m going to Target.’ [I asked] ‘Who you going with?’ She’s like, ‘my kid’s dad.’ I said, ‘Lord have mercy please don’t go.’ She said, ‘Mom, I will be right back.'”
But the mother of two never came home. The next morning her mother says she heard the gunshots ring out and her worst nightmare came to life.
“As you could imagine, my worst fear. My child laying in the street not that far from me covered in a sheet and now my granddaughter is missing…All I thought was, ‘is this another Vanessa Morales story, where the mom gets killed and the child is missing?’ I was shattered to pieces.”
The family now left to figure out life without the bright light they all hold dear.
“Alessia was loved, she was a wonderful mother of two to Alaia and to Joseph and she will forever be that. And now I’m Alaia’s grandmother, her mother, and her father,” Sandy Mesquita, Alessia’s mom told the crowd gathered.
As for the suspect, Rashad Newton is being charged with murder and risk of injury to a minor. The family says they want justice and their hope now is that no other woman loses her life to domestic violence.