By Matt Burgad, Hartford Courant
Community leaders are planning an anti-violence rally
outside 161 Martin St., where an 18-year-old man was shot and
killed Saturday in Hartford, in an effort to persuade the young
man's friends to not seek revenge against his assailant.
As a crowd of young men huddled near a makeshift shrine set
up to commemorate murder victim James Carter on Monday, community
activists Henry Brown and the Rev. Donald Johnson looked on with
``Things are tense on Martin Street,'' said Brown, who along
with Johnson is known for his efforts to curb youth violence
in Hartford neighborhoods, especially the North End. ``Those
kids aren't saying nothin' to nobody right now. They're just
biding their time, letting their anger build. We as a community
need to step in to prevent some other kid from getting killed.''
The young men who gathered at Carter's shrine Monday would not
identify themselves, but they spoke passionately to Brown about
the need to make sure their friend did not die in vain. They
sat around a collection of empty liquor bottles and candles beneath
a canopy tent, vowing to avenge the death of their friend. Carter,
who had ties to East Hartford and Hartford, was known on the
street as ``Squint.''
``Someone's going to pay, that's just the way it is,'' one young
man said. ``People think we're all a bunch of gangsters anyway.''
Nearly 48 hours after the slaying, city police had not officially
released the name of the victim. Hartford police officials, including
Police Chief Patrick J. Harnett and department spokeswoman Nancy
Mulroy, were not available to comment on the investigation into
the city's latest slaying, the ninth of the year.
The chief state medical examiner's office said Carter died of
multiple gunshot wounds, confirming accounts from witnesses that
Carter was shot as many as five times after getting into an argument
with another man over a girl.
The two young men exchanged punches after the girl, who was
present at the incident, said something to provoke the man who
shot Carter, according to a man who said he witnessed the shooting.
Police have confirmed that, in the moments after the shooting
took place about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Carter was taken to the
hospital in the car of a woman who was driving by and was stopped
by a group of Carter's friends who asked her to take him there.
On the way there, however, the car was stopped by police officers
who wanted to make sure the young man was not armed, police said.
Many of Carter's friends, including one who said he witnessed
the incident, said police pulled Carter from the vehicle during
the stop, and patted him for weapons as blood continued to pour
from his body. Police officials said officers provided first
aid to Carter until an ambulance arrived to stabilize him.
Carter's friends acknowledged Monday that Carter likely would
have died from his injuries despite the police stop. But they
expressed outrage that officers would remove him from the car
and pat him down instead of making sure he was OK.
``If someone's got blood coming out of their mouth, you don't
move him like that, take him out of the car and put him on the
sidewalk,'' one young man said.
Brown said he feared that the brewing anger being displayed
by Carter's friends would translate into more violence within
the next few days.
``Those boys know who did this, and whoever it is, they better
not show up around here any time soon,'' Brown said. ``We've
had enough young men dying around here.''
Johnson said he contacted the leaders of several North End churches
Monday to make sure they would spread the word about today's
rally, which is set to begin at 5 p.m. at the spot where Carter
``It's getting too hot out here, too hot for people who care
to take a pass,'' he said. ``If you want all this nonsense to
stop, you have to do something about it.''
Two Hartford state legislators, Sen. John Fonfara and Rep. Art
Feltman, are planning a community forum on public safety May
24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Bellizzi Middle School on South Street.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at