New Haven woman shot, killed sitting on front porch

Francesca Ratchford

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A 25-year-old New Haven woman was shot and killed while sitting on her front porch early Tuesday morning.

According to officials, Francesca Ratchford was shot several times outside 848 Congress Avenue and pronounced dead at the scene. The sound of gunfire awoke neighbors around 4 a.m.

“I fell on the floor because bullets don’t have no eyes,” said Regina Brown. “I came looking through the window and all the different colored lights were on, so I came to the door and there it was, all these police. I hear a mother screaming and hollering and it just hurt my heart,” said Brown.

Locals knew Ratchford as LaLa. They say she had a six-year-old son and was a good mother.

“I am sorry for her family, her baby. I am sorry to hear all of this,” Brown said. “She was a sweetheart. As far as I know she didn’t bother anybody. She kept to herself with her son. She was a beautiful person.”

“She’s the best. She don’t get a problem with nobody. Everybody loves her. I love LaLa,” said Alicia Rodriguez.

California Grocery is just feet away from where the deadly shooting happened. The owner’s daughter says the stretch of Congress Avenue was quiet until this.

“He’s been here 34 years and nothing like this ever happened before,” said Theresa Bethea.

Neighbors are now worried about their safety.

“I’m worried about who did it,” Rodriguez said.

Authorities say witnesses describe seeing a young, shirtless black man with dreadlocks as possibly being involved in the shooting.

Anyone who witnessed the shooting or has information that might help police in their investigation is asked for call New Haven detectives at (203) 946-6304.

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