Man charged in fatal shooting of 3-year-old boy in Hartford
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A 19-year-old man was charged with murder Monday in connection with the shooting of a 3-year-old Connecticut boy whose death dismayed and angered the community and prompted state lawmakers to call for more funding for urban anti-violence programs.
Hartford police said they arrested city resident Jaziah Smith for the killing of Randell Jones in a drive-by shooting on April 10. A message seeking comment was left for the public defenders’ office, which also is representing him in a gun-related case from last year.
A judge ordered Smith detained on $2.5 million bail during a court arraignment later Monday.
The arrest came on the same day of Randell’s memorial service and burial.
Police said Randell was in a parked car with his mother, other relatives and a male passenger in the city’s North End when another vehicle pulled next to them and someone opened fire. Authorities said the man in the car with Randell was the intended target. Randell’s mother drove him to a hospital, where he died, officials said. No one else was shot.
Hartford police said the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy two hours later was related to the killing of Randell. Authorities haven’t said how the shootings were connected. No one has been charged in the killing of the teen, Jamari Preston.
State court records show Smith was charged last year with carrying a pistol without a permit and trespassing, and he posted $75,000 bail. That case remains pending.
Activists led a vehicle caravan through the streets of Hartford on Saturday calling for an end to gun violence.
Also in response to the April 10 shootings, Black lawmakers and community group leaders gathered at the state Capitol on Wednesday to call for more federal and state aid for chronically underfunded anti-violence programs in Connecticut’s cities.