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Lawmakers to meet after teen in stolen car kills marathoner

July 3, 2021 GMT

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — Lawmakers are planning to discuss juvenile crime after a teenager driving a stolen car struck and killed a marathoner on Tuesday.

The 53-year-old Henryk Gudelski was an avid marathon runner from New Britain who had completed 40 marathons, including ones in Poland and Stockholm, and was training for his 41st when he was killed, WTNH-TV reported on Friday.

Authorities said the 17-year-old driver of the stolen vehicle had been arrested multiple times previously and was arrested after being captured on camera. Another teenager believed to be involved has not been apprehended, the broadcaster reported.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said that Gudelski’s death was a tragedy and said the community wants answers on how this happened.

“Everybody’s just in shock. How do you get arrested 13 times and not have any consequences, and then you kill someone?” Stewart said of the 17-year-old suspect.

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The teens allegedly stole the car and were speeding away from a gas station where they also allegedly stole a man’s wallet.

On Friday, Speaker of the House Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, and House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-Branford, announced there will be a bipartisan meeting held on July 7 among leaders of the General Assembly to discuss juvenile crime.

“Juvenile crime and violence is impacting cities and towns across the state,” they said in joint written statement, adding they want to pick up ongoing discussions on a range of relevant issues.

Republican lawmakers had previously called for a bipartisan bill to strengthen juvenile justice laws. Candelora called Democrats who lead the state legislature “tone deaf” to the issue in an interview with the broadcaster.

New Britain Police Chief Chris Chute said Gudelski’s death should have never happened and that the juvenile justice system has failed the community.

Ritter stressed in an interview with the broadcaster that the issue is complicated.

“The problem is you have a couple hundred kids causing the vast majority of the problem,” he said, adding “the number of cars they are stealing has increased because the opportunities have increased.”