“He was always there to help someone. What’s going to be more sad are his children, because he won’t be there to raise them,” said Angela McCray of her son Curtis.
She said he was a loving father who never met a stranger. Tragically, he was shot and killed on Oct. 26, 2019. On Thursday, New Haven police announced 37-year-old Michael Holmes was charged in his murder.
“The community was instrumental in putting some of these pieces together,” said Acting Chief Renee Dominguez. “We talk about that often, about how important community involvement in some of these cases are.”
City leaders say detectives are working tirelessly on solving homicides to bring families like this justice.
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“When I speak with families, they tell me ‘the detectives regularly communicate with me. Whenever I call the detectives, they call me back,’” said Mayor Justin Elicker.
But he said more needs to be done to hold those responsible accountable. There are 37 detectives in the New Haven Police Department, and they are about 15 short. The department plans a promotion in the spring.
Assistant Chief Karl Jacobson said they’re also realigning their existing partnership with federal law enforcement to help solve the overwhelming number of homicides from 2020 and 2021.
“If it’s a homicide related to a drug deal, the DEA could get involved. If it’s a homicide with the murder weapon traveling over state lines, the ATF could get involved,” Jacobson said.
Another positive: gun violence is down. Non-fatal shootings are one at 11, one fewer than this time last year. There are also zero homicides in 2022, compared to five in January 2021.
But CT Against Gun Violence said the numbers statewide are still higher than pre-pandemic levels.
“Not just police but we need to be connecting hospitals, education, re-entry, mental health,” said Jeremy Stein, executive director of CT Against Gun Violence. “All these services need to be connected so that we can be looking at the real root case of gun violence.”
And Stein said the state should invest in programs in cities. He’s asking for $5-million to create a grant office so municipalities can apply for funding for existing programs, and new ones like New Haven’s planned Office of Violence Prevention so more families can find closure.
“I’m so glad that justice, as far as I’m concerned, has been served,” said McCray. “And I just feel a relief that my son is going to rest in peace now.”