Brawl at Anti-Violence Rally Preceded Shootings

William Kaempffer, New Haven Register, May 19, 2006

NEW HAVEN—The brawl during a high school Stop the Violence rally Wednesday may have been the harbinger. That night, a gunman opened fire on a crowded street corner, wounding two teenagers.

Thursday afternoon, gunmen hanging out of a sport utility vehicle lit up Kensington Street in a drive-by shooting, hitting one boy twice.

With the recent spate of violence—seven people wounded since Saturday—police are preparing for this weekend, which includes the annual Freddie Fixer Parade, and the prospect of a long, hot summer.

“You can expect increased patrols, not just in the aftermath of the shooting, but knowing that we’re going into a period that has been historically violent for us,” said police Chief Francisco Ortiz Jr.

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The fight at the Stop the Violence event, sponsored by the Greater New Haven NAACP, happened Wednesday at Hillhouse High School. Two students were arrested in connection with the fight, and a third was charged with narcotics counts.

Sgt. Rick Rodriguez, head of juvenile services, said his school resource officers at Hillhouse and other schools are mindful of the recent violence and will be talking with—and, more importantly, listening to—students to find out what happened and hopefully prevent additional retaliation.

Youths from many of the rival neighborhoods all attend Hillhouse, at 480 Sherman Parkway.

“Hillhouse is a community school and it’s smack dab in the middle of the communities that are feuding,” said Rodriguez.

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