WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury is a community rocked by recent violence. On Thursday, Sept. 23, the Brass City saw three people shot and injured in one day.
Police have announced a few arrests, including one Tuesday in a shooting in which a 10-year-old boy was shot in the ribcage on Congress Avenue.
Now comes a call for the community to come together and take a stand against the gunfire.
On Sunday at 3 p.m., Ice the Beef, a New Haven non-violence community group, is holding what it calls a “Peace Rally” outside the Duggan School at 38 W. Porter Street.
“We want to encourage the community to stand up as a group and take back their communities from all of the violence that’s happening,” said Darryl Copeland of Ice the Beef Waterbury. “We know that where there’s unity, there’s strength, so if we can get the community leaders and the community as a whole to unite as one we can make a change.”
The group is also holding what it calls an “emergency meeting” with Waterbury clergy to get them involved in improving dialogue and communication between members of the community and with the police department, which depends on community input to help them develop leads that could turn into arrests in crimes like shootings.
While the police would not discuss specifics that led to some arrests in the recent trio of shootings, Chief Fernando Spagnolo told News 8 they got “very, very strong leads.”
Alderman Vernon Matthews, Jr. agrees improved communication between the community and police is one way to combat the violence.
“You see something, say something,” Matthews said. “Snitching is not going to get you in trouble. It’s going to make your city a better place.”
That’s what Ice the Beef is hoping to do with its rally Sunday afternoon, bringing police and the public together.
“We have to create a narrative that everyone matters and that our police officers are not here to hurt our young people or the community, but only to assist and help,” Copeland said. “The only way that we can bring the difference is to bring both groups together.”
“We understand the community, by coming out and talking to the police department, we understand it’s a huge amount of trust that they’re putting in us,” said Lt. Robert Davis with the Waterbury Police Department. “We need more groups like that to be more involved. We know how productive Ice the Beef has been in not just the Waterbury community but, outside of here such as New Haven.”