A 16-year-old Weaver High School student was shot and killed in Hartford early Monday morning.
Officers responded to Martin Street around 1:10 a.m. after getting a ShotSpotter activation and found 16-year-old Waldemar Santiago, on the street. They immediately provided medical assistance until firefighters and EMS arrived.
Santiago was transported to Saint Francis Hospital, where he later died, authorities said.
Police said they believe Santiago was outside on the sidewalk and the shots came from a vehicle.
Based on the investigation so far, authorities said Santiago was clearly targeted and this was not a random act of violence.
Santiago's aunt Karolina Pagen spoke about her nephew.
"Well, he was very energetic. He had a smile of gold. And, you know, just like any other teenager, he loved to be surrounded with friends and loved ones. And you know, this is not the way for young men to go. It's just not," she told NBC Connecticut.
Pagen says her nephew was visiting the home where his friend 17-year-old Juan Bautista Garcia lived. Garcia was found shot and killed inside a parked car on Martin Street in august. Police say no arrests have been made in that case.
“This is not the way for young men to go. It's just not. This whole year. We've been dealing with deaths back to this. The city is tired. The people are tired. Like it's so sad. It's so sad. It's just so sad,” said Santiago’s aunt Karolina Pagen.
Juan Bautista Garcia, 17, was found shot and killed inside a parked car on Martin Street in August. Police said no arrests have been made in that case.
Hartford Public School officials said Santiago was in ninth grade at Weaver High School. They said the district's crisis response team has been alerted and additional counselors and school social workers are at the school to support students today.
“It is heartbreaking for us,” said Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriquez.
School officials said school social workers connected with Santiago in the community just last week.
The district won’t comment on their interaction, but said they have increased communication with families, including home visits, since the pandemic started to build relationships with families and to connect, engage and support students.
“We know that when these tragedies take place, it is a ripple effect of course throughout the family, the peers, the entire school community,” Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, superintendent of schools in Hartford, said.
Pagan also said that something needs to be done to deal with violence in the city.
"We need to do better. We need to do better. These young kids are not getting to sprout out to young, you know, grown men. Kids are being left without brothers, fathers. You know, moms are left without sons, aunts without nephews. This is so sad," she added.
This homicide marks the 28th homicide of the year in Hartford.
Anyone with information can contact police at (860) 722-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.