NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed while riding his bike on Valley Street in New Haven on Monday.
New Haven police said Joshua Vazquez was shot on Valley Street, between Mountain Road and Harper Avenue, just before 4:30 p.m. The teen was taken to the hospital, where police said he died.
New Haven Alder Honda Smith said Vazquez was getting a snack from the corner store he frequents. Surveillance video shows the boy leaving the store and getting on his bike. A black SUV then comes down the street and slows down. The driver opens the door, shoots the victim, then drives off. Police arrived minutes later.
City officials told News 8 that Vazquez was enrolled at Metropolitan Business Academy on Water Street but had stopped attending classes.
“He was known to the police and to the school system,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said. “He faced some challenges, and I think when that happens, it’s important for us to engage as much as possible and support every individual in the school system, even those individuals that may struggle.”
Smith said Vazquez was well-loved by the West Hills community and described him as kind and caring.
“This community is completely broken. The family is broken. I’m broken,” Smith said. “He fed people that were hungry. We went to the farms together. We picked up food, he delivered it to every household here. He was really a community person. So, I don’t want anyone to put a point on that Joshua was a gangbanger. Joshua was not gangbanger.”
Police are investigating a fight at the school’s parking lot at dismissal time on Monday — just hours before Vazquez was killed. School officials said two cars with people who did not attend Metropolitan Business Academy into the parking lot and started a fight with four or five students.
On Tuesday, New Haven police Chief Karl Jacobson said there is no direct connection between the fight in the parking lot and the homicide. City officials want the violence to stop.
“We have an emergency meeting today [Tuesday] because one of our biggest concerns is around retaliation, and we do not want to see other people engaging in violence,” Elicker said. “That is not a solution to losing a friend or a loved one’s life.”
Police have increased patrols in the West Hills area and at Metropolitan Business Academy.
No arrests have been made, but police said they have spoken with several witnesses and are following up on leads.
Anyone with information about the shooting and fight is asked to contact the New Haven Police Department Investigative Services Division at (203) 946-6304. Callers may remain anonymous or submit tips anonymously by calling 1-866-888-TIPS(8477) or emailing ECIC@newhavenct.gov.
The video below is from News 8 at 10 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2022.