NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Police in New Haven are investigating a shooting that left one teen dead and another in critical condition. News 8 now has an exclusive with a twist in the case with what New Haven police had to say when we tried to reach out to them for comment.
It happened on Butler and Lilac streets just before 9 Monday night. Police say 17-year-old Taijhon Washington of New Haven and his 16-year-old-half brother, whose name has not been released, were found lying in the street.
But when News 8 reached out to New Haven police to see if there were any breaks in the case Tuesday afternoon, we got a surprising reaction.
The comment was made over the phone so News 8’s Brian Spryos went to the New Haven Police Department to get an explanation.
When he spoke with Public Information Officer David Hartman earlier on the phone, Hartman said he didn’t want to comment on another black kid getting shot in the city.
“You know we all have a frustration about these horrific crimes. When you asked for a comment as many other stations had, we had nothing to add investigation wise, the investigation is ongoing. We have one teenage victim dead, the other clinging to life in the hospital,” said Hartman. “And it’s frustrating to us as proud New Haveners that we see all too often comments about rampant crime about black kids getting shot in the streets of New Haven. This is not what New Haven is about and these are unfortunate victims . Gun violence, shooting deaths up until recently were the number one cause of death for teenage black men and it’s frustrating as hell for us.”
In fact, Officer Hartman says that young African Americans are two times more likely to be shot and killed than Hispanic kids, and eight times more likely to get shot and killed than a white one.
“So, what I said to you was certainly to infer that we don’t want this story to be just about this. These are human beings and this is the way we feel and it is certainly a bigger project to be addressed by a much bigger entity than the police department. That’s why I said what I said,” said Hartman.
Officer Hartman says the frustration also comes from the way some people view the city.
“I think we all see the frustration. I live in New Haven, this is my city. I have grown up here my whole life and when a monicker is placed on a town or city that is dangerous and you know better. Yes, we are a city, we have the richest of the richest and the poor of the poorest and our crime has decreased above the national rate. It continuous to go down and you know it gets very frustrating,” said Hartman.
News 8 also reached out the mayor’s officer for reaction to Officer Hartman’s comment. Mayor Harp’s office said while they stand behind Officer Hartman’s explanation, it might not have been the “best choice of words” to use.