NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The West Hills neighborhood in New Haven is heartbroken and calling for gun violence to end after 18-year-old Anthony Strother was shot and killed on South Genesee Street late Monday night. Police are still searching for a suspect.

New Haven Alder Honda Smith said Strother and his friends approached her at a corner store two weeks ago. They asked for her help in getting new jobs.

“I know that there are kids that really want to make changes in their lives,” Smith said. “Anthony wanted to make a change. These kids were so close to getting a career, making a change for themselves, making money where they’re able to survive on their own, but his life was taken away from him.”

Smith said neighbors are outraged over the gun violence, adding they deserve safety. 

“My community just wants to be safe, just like any other community,” she said. “They want to be safe, and the residents are crying out. They want better, and I understand they want better. They don’t want this violence in their front yard.”

Neighbors held a prayer and vigil for Strother Tuesday night. Police said a fight broke out at the vigil and they seized a gun from a juvenile. 

“To hear the screams and the cries of ‘why, why you would you do this, to bring a gun here while we’re grieving for my brother or my cousin.’”

Leonard Jahad, who works with youth at risk, said he was making progress with Strother. Now his team is working to help Strother’s friends so they don’t retaliate and fall into a cycle of violence. 

“Every time there is an incident, it resounds in the community,” Jahad said. “Five times, ten times, you have a child who hears a gunshot and can’t go to sleep the next day. How are they going to function in school? They can barely sleep.”

The Connecticut Violence Intervention Program consists of trusted, trained community members that disrupt, prevent, and stop the spread of violence through crisis intervention and proactive relationships with the highest-risk youths and the institutions that impact their lives in the Greater New Haven area. To learn more, visit https://www.ctintervention.org/about