HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — An 18-year-old man faces multiple charges, including murder, in the May shooting death of a Hamden boy on a popular trail.
Acting Hamden Police Chief Timothy Wydra said police arrested Jenigh Ward of Hamden Monday morning in connection to the shooting death of 15-year-old Elijah Gomez.
Ward is charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and carrying a pistol without a permit.
Ward is accused of fatally shooting Gomez, a freshman at Hamden High School, on the Farmington Canal Linear Park near Treadwell Street around 2:30 p.m. May 9. Gomez was pronounced dead on the scene.
“There’s a lot more to be looked into, a lot to be done,” Wydra said. “Certainly motive is something we are interested in. We do not think this was random. We believe he was targeted. We don’t know why.”
The arrest warrant, obtained by News 8, reveals that several witnesses told police that they saw three males in the area at the time of the shooting. One witness also told police that they saw the three males in a gold Honda.
The arrest warrant reveals that Hamden police obtained surveillance video on Marne Street that pointed eastbound towards the Farmington Canal Line.
According to the arrest warrant, the video shows three males walking northbound on the Farmington Canal Line around 2:47 p.m., which is just prior to Gozem arriving at the area. According to police, the three males, one of which was identified as Ward, hid behind a cluster of trees on the trail where they allegedly waited for Gomez.
Police said as Gomez began to walk past the three men, the three men stepped out from behind the trees. That’s when police say Ward approached Gomez’s left side and shot him. Police say it’s important to note that Ward was the only person standing on the left side of Gomez at the time of the shooting. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said the wounds Gomez sustained indicated that he was shot on the left side of the body.
According to the arrest warrant, immediately after the homicide, Ward and the two other men were seen walking away from the trail, about 915 feet, and were seen getting into a gold Honda.
On May 10, a gold 2022 Honda was located on Gorham Avenue. a COLLECT inquiry revealed the car was registered to Ward. Ward and two other men, who were identified as different men seen in the surveillance videos, were taken into custody. Police said the two other men taken into custody had alibis for the day of the homicide.
During an interview with police, Ward police investigators that he and two other men drove to the Farmington Canal Line where they intended to “smoke.” He said that while they were standing on the trail, they heard gunfire nearby, but did not see anything. When asked how many gunshots he heard, “WARD mimicked the sound of five gunshots, which is the exact amount of cartridge cases located at the scene,” the arrest warrant read.
Hamden police interviewed Ward’s mother who said she remembered him leaving their home at approximately noon on May 9 and did not return home until “dinner time.”
On May 10, police obtained a search warrant for a home on Gorham Avenue, which is where the gold Honda was located. While searching the home, investigators located a black, puffy winter-style jacket, a green sweatshirt, red pants, and spent .45 caliber cartridge cases. The clothes are similar to what Ward was wearing in the surveillance video, according to police.
Also on May 10, police obtained a search warrant for Ward’s home on Grandview Avenue. While searching Ward’s bedroom, police found 86 rounds of 9mm ammunition, a firearm cleaning kit, two magazines, and grip extensions belonging to a Springfield Armory XD-S 9mm handgun. Police said the 9mm ammunition located in Ward’s bedroom is consistent with the spent cartridges found where Gomez was killed.
The Law Enforcement Database Inquiries revealed that Ward does not have a CT Pistol Permit.
Hamden police also obtained a search warrant for Ward’s Honda. Inside, investigators found a black, puffy winter-style jacket.
The acting police chief said the investigation is ongoing and hopes there will be more arrests in the case.
Following Gomez’s death, the police department upped its patrols along the canal line.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Andrew Lipford of the Hamden Police Department Major Crimes Division at (203) 230-4055.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.