WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The rising number of violent crimes in Waterbury prompted the police chief to demand action from state lawmakers.

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said the city, so far, has seen 15 homicides this year. Some of the suspects arrested in these cases have lengthy records, some were involved in other cases at the time of the crime, and some had even been arrested more than seven times.

“These people that are responsible for committing these homicides that are released back in our community, you can see that there’s a lengthy criminal history,” Spagnolo said at a news conference Tuesday.

Spagnolo said the department had made seven arrests in homicide cases on Dec. 1 and 2. All have prior violent crime and gun charges, according to authorities.

  • Gelson Cruz, 22, was extradited from Puerto Rico and charged with murder in the Sept. 13 death of Jordan Savage on Colonial Avenue.
  • Clarence Rhodes, 43, was captured in Florida and is awaiting extradition. Waterbury police’s active arrest warrant charges him with murder in the Oct. 31 death of Xavier Pellot on Willow Street.
  • Christopher Francisquini, 31, was caught after a two-week manhunt. He’s accused of killing his 11-month-old daughter, Camilla, in Naugatuck on Nov. 18.
  • Freddy Montalvo, 16, was charged with conspiracy at murder, reckless endangerment, and tampering with evidence in the Oct. 4 death of 17-year-old Wissin Rodriguez-Resto on Bishop Street. Additional warrants were also served for weapons violations. Police said his case was transferred to adult court.
  • Isah Montalvo, 15, faces charges of conspiracy at murder, reckless endangerment, and tampering with evidence in the death of Rodriguez-Resto. Additional warrants were also served for weapons violations. Police said his case was transferred to adult court.
  • Kylle Brewer, 16, was charged with conspiracy at murder, reckless endangerment, and tampering with evidence in the death of Rodriguez-Resto. Additional warrants were also served for weapons violations. Police said his case was transferred to adult court.
  • Rafael Calderon, 18, is currently in custody on unrelated charges and will be served this week with a warrant charging him with conspiracy at murder, reckless endangerment, and tampering with evidence in the death of Rodriguez-Resto. He also has another warrant for weapons violations.

Spagnolo is demanding change from state lawmakers when the session reconvenes in January.

“I think there needs to be a lot of conversations about the judicial system as it operates right now, bond reform, as it was enacted several years ago, and how it’s impacted us, especially us, urban communities, and just the releasing people back in our communities when they committed recidivism that include violent acts,” Spagnolo said.

Spagnolo told News 8 that he hadn’t seen 15 homicides since the 90s, and it’s not just the number of homicides increasing.

“Extreme rise in shots fired, incidents where people were struck by gunfire,” he said.

In 2021, police responded to 180 shots fired incidents. That number currently stands at 329 in 2022.

It has long-time Waterbury residents on edge.

“I don’t feel safe in the streets,” Danny Burgos said. “It’s a lot of violence. I have lived here for 20 years and never seen it bad like that.”

“I’m always doing a 360, looking behind me, in front of me, side of me,” said a resident who wanted to remain anonymous. “I don’t feel safe here anymore.”

Spagnolo said they have arrested 12 people in connection with 15 homicides, adding that these were targeted crimes, with some related to group violence.