Demonstrators gathered outside the Wethersfield Police Department headquarters then marched the Silas Deane Highway Thursday, fighting for justice after a police-involved shooting that killed an 18-year-old man.
The protesters are demanding justice for the young man they called “Chulo.” That’s the nickname for 18-year-old Anthony Jose Vega Cruz.
Connecticut State Police say he died several days after being shot by a Wethersfield Police officer in the area of Silas Deane Highway and Maple Street.
"We haven’t gotten satisfactory answers from the police department," said Cornell Lewis, an organizer with the group Moral Monday CT.
Investigators said that on Saturday officers were trying to pull over Vega’s car when it struck a cruiser. Police say an officer got out and Vega drove toward him, which is when Officer Layau Eulizier opened fired. Another officer – Peter Salvatore – was there at the time but did not shoot.
The Hartford State’s Attorney’s Office is now leading the investigation.
“We want to see the dash cam video and we want to know why this officer felt comfortable enough to shoot this young man, rather than try to apprehend him in another way,” Lewis said.
Omayra Ramos, a family friend, said many are carrying disbelief and anger after the shooting.
“We just want to know why it happened? Why stuff is not being deescalated properly? And what are the actual protocols for a situation like this?" Ramos said.
The group called for a more compassionate response from town leaders. They’d also like to see changes in police culture and policies.
“The message has been sent. We’re not going away. We’ll be here to the end of it. We’ll get change. We’ll get justice for Chulo,” Bishop John Selders of Moral Monday CT said.
During a similar protest on Monday, Wethersfield’s police chief called this a tragedy but deferred questions to state authorities.
Vega’s funeral is set for Friday in Bloomfield.