Two men were shot and killed after getting into fights at the Up Or On the Rocks nightclub in Hartford last month and the victims' families are calling for the club to remain closed.
Brian Simpe, 19, of Manchester, was shot and killed outside the club early on the morning of Aug. 4 and Miguel Delgado, 21, of East Hartford, was shot and killed outside the Up or On the Rocks Nightclub early Friday morning.
On Tuesday night, dozens of people gathered in downtown Hartford to hold a vigil for Delgado.
“He never ran the streets. ... He wasn’t a bad kid,” said Cheri ta Torres, Delgado’s mother, who still can’t believe her son is gone.
“I have no words. ... It's unexplainable,” Torres said.
She and dozens of his friends lit candles for Delgado just feet away from where he was shot and killed.
“It's sad how people out here are just shooting each other ... taking innocent lives,” Torres said.
Hartford police officers arrested the suspected gunman, Angel Morales, 25, who turned himself in on Tuesday afternoon.
Police said Morales and Delgado got into a fight inside the club over a spilled drink.
When the club closed, the problems spilled onto the street, and that is when Morales allegedly pulled the trigger.
“Words can’t even begin to describe how I feel. This is the second one of my friends that died in a month; this one really hit home,” Kasey Brown said.
Brown was friends with Delgado, and said he was at the Up or On the Rocks Nightclub a few weeks earlier when his other friend, Brian Simpe, 19, was killed after a fight started inside that business.
“He died in my arms. It’s like history repeating itself,” Brown said.
The owner of Up or On the Rocks temporarily shut down the club after demands from Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra.
On Tuesday, the Hartford police chief met with the owner and told him he had to hire Hartford police officers to watch over the crowd as a condition to reopen.
Both of the victims’ families said they want the club closed for good.
Simpe’s father, who attended the vigil, said the club is a liability.
“It should have been shut down the first time, but it didn’t,” Derrick Yeboah said.
The club’s owner could not be reached for comment .
The man suspected in the death of Simpe, Mike Cruz, was arrested in Florida and is expected to be extradited to Hartford this week.