Hartford Community Calls for End to Violence Amid Shooting Spree

Dozens gathered outside Hartford’s First Church of the Nazarene for an anti-violence rally Tuesday evening to call for an end to violence in the city after the church's own pastor was shot.

Rev. Dr. Augustus Sealy was shot several times while placing Memorial Day flags outside the church on Sunday. His recovery is expected to take at least six weeks.

"All lives matter, but you know, this is like the work of the devil, truly," said Hartford resident Henrietta Beckman, whose son was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2002.

That disbelief drove Beckman to come to the rally. She said she has been to too many of these shooting vigils since the death of her son.

"Every year it’s the same scenario. It will die down for the fall and as soon as the weather breaks, the killings start again, and I don’t understand that," said Beckman.

Three people have died in six shootings over the past week and a half alone.

Police said big gangs are no long the issue like in years past.

"What we have is small groups of individuals who make their living off of drug sales and living pretty hard and pretty fast," said Hartford Police Chief James Rovella.

Now they're investigating whether the shooting that sent Sealy to the hospital may have been a hate crime. Police said the shooter made anti-gay comments and the church is known for welcoming members of the LGBT community.

While city leaders and police promise to work with the community to help end the violence, one mom had a simple message.

"Please put down these guns; let people live their lives," said Beckman.

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