Friends remember West Hartford shooting victim

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Candles now mark the spot where a deadly shooting happened on Prospect Avenue Wednesday night.

Twenty-three-year-old Jose Mendez was shot in the head as he was driving. His friends created a makeshift memorial at the crash scene and, on Friday, collected pieces from the accident to remember their loved one.

“I felt like there’s a piece of him here,” said a woman. “I wanted to say my last goodbyes and I got this and I will keep this forever.”

Mendez’s girlfriend, Angela Grasso, is now charged with first-degree manslaughter. According to the affidavit, Grasso, 27, said she was kidnapped by Mendez, who Grasso claims threatened to kill her and her family.

On Wednesday, Mendez was driving to Wendy’s on Prospect Avenue with Grasso in the passenger seat, according to the affidavit. Grasso told detectives when Mendez turned his head, she retrieved a gun from her purse and shot her boyfriend in the head.

Grasso’s attorney claims the shooting was in self-defense. Friend’s of the victim can’t believe it.

“I know him personally and I know he would not threaten no female that way,” said another woman.

Grasso’s family at her home in Plainville declined to comment. Neighbors described her as a nice woman with two kids.

Police are reviewing surveillance video from businesses along Prospect Avenue.

Grasso posted $750,000 bail Thursday and is due back in Hartford Superior Court on April 24.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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