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One man is dead and another is wounded after a double shooting in Connecticut.

The two men were found when Hartford Police officers responded to Kent Street for a report on a Shot Spotter activation around 5:29 p.m., Wednesday, June 9.

When officers arrived on the scene they found a crime scene, but no victims.

Minutes later the department was informed by an area hospital that two victims had arrived for treatment of gunshot wounds, said Hartford PD Lt. Aaron Boisvert.

The first victim, a man in his 30s, was listed in stable condition, according to Boisvert.

The second victim, identified as Trelique Ward, 22, of East Hartford, was initially listed in critical condition, but later died from his injuries, police said.

The investigation remains active and ongoing. 

The shooting took place shortly after a 55-year-old woman was fatally shot while cooking dinner in her kitchen near Sisson Avenue, and marked the 19th homicide of the year.

Anyone with any information regarding the case is asked to call the HPD Tip Line at 860-722-TIPS (8477).

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Mass shootings are on the rise in Oakland, with six so far in 2021

OAKLAND — John Avalos was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He had dropped off food on his friend’s porch and was back in his car when a firefight began. When the shooting stopped, more than 200 shell casings littered an East Oakland neighborhood.

Three men were wounded in the Jan. 21 shooting  — and Avalos was dead. It was the city’s first mass shooting of 2021.

So far this year, Oakland has seen a dramatic rise in gun crimes, from homicides to shootings to armed robberies and carjackings. But there is another troubling trend: mass shootings — defined as single incidents with four or more gunshot victims — are up, too. The city has had six mass shootings in less than six months, the most of any California city. That’s already more than the four that occurred all of last year.

The shootings happened outside a downtown club, in the front yard of a family gathering, on Lakeshore Avenue near Lake Merritt and aboard a party bus, where a group of women were celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday party.

The latest came on Saturday around 6:22 p.m., when one person was killed and five others wounded on Lakeshore Avenue at Lake Merritt, where about 1,000 were gathered.

These mass shootings are less publicized than massacres that occur at places of worship, movie theaters and nightclubs, and at workplaces, like the deadly VTA shooting in San Jose last month, in which an employee shot and killed nine co-workers.

But they have left their own scars on Oakland residents and neighborhoods. Police arrested two men who ran from the scene of Saturday’s shooting with firearms, and are investigating whether they are connected or responsible for the shooting. Oakland police have not announced arrests in the other five mass shootings this year.

“These are terrible incidents, tragic incidents,” said Oakland police Capt. Tony Jones, who runs the city’s Ceasefire program to reduce violence. “I don’t know why the public doesn’t look at it that way when it happens in Oakland. They just don’t seem to catch on with the public and the outrage you would see that occurs in other cities. I just don’t know why. We certainly feel it at OPD.”

On average, Oakland experienced four mass shootings a year between 2016 and 2020, with 88 people wounded and six killed, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Though the city was the site of the Oikos University massacre in April 2012, when nursing student One L. Goh shot and killed seven people, most of the bloodshed happens on city streets.

The worst year, 2016, saw 35 people wounded in seven separate shootings. That included eight injured on 14th Street near City Hall, and a 16-year-old killed and three other teenagers wounded while attending a vigil for friends who drowned in a Stanislaus County reservoir.

Citywide, all gun-related crimes are up.

In the first half of 2021, there have been about 330 shootings causing injuries including death, an increase of about 77% compared with this time last year. Shootings of occupied vehicles and homes increased by 79%, robberies where guns were used are up 57%, while carjackings rose a staggering 104%.

Police have recovered 504 guns so far in 2021, about the same rate of seizures as last year. Most of the weapons were linked to felonies, according to police department statistics, and appear to be coming in from out of state.

Oakland police officials attribute the rise in violence in part to the increase of guns on the street, where tension between gangs appearing to battle over turf came with the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Police have also seen a troubling level of gunfire at shooting sites. It is not unusual for crime scene technicians to mark 70, 80 and 90 casings fired at one scene.

“When was the last time you heard of somebody at 1:30 p.m., one block away from the Oakland Police Department, getting out of a car with machine guns and shooting somebody,” Jones said, referring to a May 24 homicide on 8th Street.

Oakland residents, in particular East Oakland, are hearing gunfire each night, officials have said. Shotspotter activations are up 119% over last year, with two-thirds of the 3,924 activations occurring in East Oakland.

Ari Freilich, state policy director with the Giffords Law Center, said “unfortunately Oakland’s experience is consistent with many cities this year.” Crime in major cities spiked over the pandemic, along with gun sales and a proliferation of ghost guns, which can be bought online as kits and assembled at home, Freilich said.

Two weeks before the deadly VTA shooting in San Jose, at least two gunmen unleashed terror on a group of women and girls on a party bus headed from San Francisco back to Oakland. The gunmen stalked the bus, first shooting at it on Interstate 580, and following it onto city streets, firing more before the wounded bus driver managed to get to the Eastmont Police Substation.

Two teenage girls, 16 and 19, were killed and six other women — one who was inside a parked car — were wounded. One remains in critical condition. Police estimate the shooters fired about 70 rounds. Investigators do not believe the women were the intended targets.

Before Saturday’s shooting at Lake Merritt, the most recent mass shooting occurred June 6, when five men were shot at a family gathering outside a home in the 5100 block of Ygnacio Avenue in East Oakland. On May 8, three men and a woman were wounded in a shooting in the 1400 block of Lakeshore Avenue, near Lake Merritt. Six men were wounded on Feb. 13 in Old Oakland, outside a downtown club. All of them survived.

“Most times when we have a killing, the person who dies never had anything to do with it,” said Antoine Towers of the Oakland Violence Prevention Coalition. But “any kind of harm leaves a scar, even if you are not the one who got shot. Just hearing a shot” can cause trauma, he said.

Avalos, a 38-year-old old San Lorenzo resident, was one of those unintended victims. He came to the city’s Stonehurst neighborhood to bring food to a friend quarantined after a COVID diagnosis, authorities said. Multiple gunmen sprayed the area of 107th Avenue and Apricot Street with more than 200 bullets. Avalos was fatally wounded; three others were shot but survived.

While the majority of victims in Oakland mass shootings survive, they carry their wounds with them, said Freilich.

“These are life altering traumatic experiences both physically and mentally,” Freilich said. “Their lives will never be the same. Many survivors will have a lifetime of medical bills and painful and just enormous trauma.”

In the Avalos killing, Oakland police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the homicide and shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call 510-238-3821. In the party bus double homicide and shooting a reward of up to $40,000 is being offered. Tipsters are asked to call the California Highway Patrol tip line at 707-917-4491. In the three other Oakland mass shootings, investigators are asking individuals with information to call 510-238-3426. 

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