NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven Police are investigating after an 8-year-old boy was fatally shot Thursday night.
According to police, officers responded to a report of a person shot inside a residence on Howard Avenue between Columbus Avenue and Minor Street in the Hill neighborhood at around 10:40 p.m. Thursday.
Upon arrival, first responders treated the child gunshot victim. An ambulance transported him to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police say the incident occurred in the second-floor bedroom of an apartment. News 8 has learned that the child shot himself. The circumstances seem to indicate he somehow may have gotten his hands on a handgun secured inside the home.
Detectives have seized a loaded handgun and a safe from the home.
The child’s death is believed to have been accidental.
Officers notified the Yale Child Study Center and the Department of Children and Families. A Child Study Center clinician met with the victim’s family at the hospital.
News 8 was told Mayor Justin Elicker and Police Chief Otoniel Reyes were with the family at the hospital Thursday.
New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes said, “We mourn the tragic loss of such a young member of our community. We ask the community to join us in keeping the family in our thoughts and prayers during this time of unimaginable loss, pain, and grief.”
Neighbors are shaken.
Kianesha Albright lives directly across the street from the home where the child was shot. She says she has a 10-year-old son herself.
“Nobody deserves that,” she told News 8 Friday.
At an emotional prayer vigil Friday where clergy and New Haven alders prayed for the city and its residents during a difficult year, leaders asked neighbors and community members to support the child’s family.
Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker-Myers said, “That midnight hour gets difficult. And everybody is around in the beginning but when you’re all alone you’re looking for someone. As a city, we have to do everything we can…We gotta come together and wrap our arms around that mom.”
Friday, a visibly emotional mayor spoke like a dad not a politician.
“Just to see the look on a mother’s eyes who can never see their 8-year-old child again. To think about her arms never being able to hold her 8-year-old child again is something that, so many of us have children and I think we can all understand how difficult that is for anyone and should never happen,” Mayor Justin Elicker said.
Back on Howard Avenue Friday, neighbors are holding their children closer. This was not violence on the street. But it could not have hit closer to home.
Albright saying, “I feel bad. I feel bad because I have kids.”
The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Haven Police Department at (203) 946-6304.