NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven Police say they’ve arrested and charged Anthony Valeriano in the alleged shooting death of his girlfriend, 44-year-old Natosha Gaines, last October.
“She was full of life, full of joy. She was an amazing grandmother, amazing mom,” said Gaines’ mother, Cheryl Tyson.
Tyson and other family members thanked New Haven Police at a city-held press conference on Tuesday.
The arrest comes as officials face increasing pressure to stem a wave of violent street crime. Homicides and shootings for the year stand at levels not seen in a decade. In response, the police department has increased walking and bike patrols, reintroduced a shooting task force, and detectives are working to solve difficult cases even as caseloads grow.
Valeriano is accused of shooting Natosha in the head. He reportedly told police it was an accident. He is charged with manslaughter.
Gaines’ father thanked detectives.
“They’re fighting to stop the violence in New Haven,” said Arnold Payne, “They made a believer out of me and showed me that they can do it.”
“There’s still much more work to be done,” said Mayor Justin Elicker.
“It gives a little bit of closure to be able to begin a very long healing process,” said Police Acting Chief Renee Dominguez, speaking of Gaines’ family.
“I’m just grateful that he’s caught,” said Tyson.
Valeriano is held on bond. He has not yet entered a plea in the case.