NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — The investigation into the death of a New London teen continues Thursday as the family tries to deal with this tragic loss.

Just before 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, New London Emergency Services personnel were called to the area of Grand Street and Elm Street after reports of a shooting and injured person lying in the road.

Upon arrival, the victim was found and declared deceased. The victim’s father, James Ford, identified the teen as 17-year-old Ronde Ford.

His father told News 8, “he was a great dude. He had issues like every teen, always wanted to be the best and expected everyone else’s best. Loved by so many which will also bring the hate. We just want everyone to know he didn’t deserve to be shot in the face twice. He was special and we want his friends to take Ronde’s last life lesson”

Ford says his son was shot twice in the face.

“I said to the officer oh that’s really close, they did that really close,” said Ford.

Police said the incident does not appear to be a random act, and that they have collected and seized valuable evidence and interviewed multiple people. Police are also still trying to figure out what led up to the shooting, but say that the incident happened outside, and that a weapon and vehicle were involved.

“We did collect and seize valuable information. At this time I’m not ready to release any other information regards to that,” said New London Police Capt. Brian Wright.

There were no other injuries reported during the incident, and no one is currently in custody. An investigation is ongoing.

We do know police asked neighbors if they had seen a car speeding away through the neighborhood and we also know this investigation has brought investigators outside of the city. 

“They had asked my mom if she seen any car passing by here driving fast,” said neighbor Shelynn Marrero.

Ford was a senior at New London High School and he was known for his talents on the football field.

“We’re hurt. It’s a… we’re hurt,” said James Ford.

His father was one of his coaches.

“Ronde he was at best athletic and very competitive and extremely smart,” said Ford.

“We are a small very close knit city and when something like this happens to one of our families we all suffer,” said Mayor Michael Passero, (D) New London.

“Today in the high school all day teachers from different classes have just been talking about what had happened with him,” said neighbor Shelynn Marrero who added that people are very upset about this. “Yeah.”

New London Superintendent of Schools Cynthia Ritchie sent a letter to the district community Thursday morning regarding the incident. Administrators confirmed to News 8 the victim was a high school student in the district. Schools are offering support to students, families, and school personnel.

“It is with the deepest regret and sadness that I inform you about the tragic and sudden loss of one of our high school students. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and to the entire school community of which this student was a beloved part. This news is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions, especially for our staff and students,” Ritchie said in the letter.

Many in the community are now reaching out to his family

Police do not believe this shooting was a random act and we do understand they are looking into the possibility there was an attempted carjacking prior to it. 

Those with information and/or video concerning the shooting are asked to contact the New London Police Department’s detective bureau at (860) 447-1481. Or, anonymous information may be
submitted via the New London Tips 411 system by texting NLPDTip plus the information to Tip411 (847411).