A woman known as the grandmother of her Hartford neighborhood was hit and killed by a car police say was involved in a shootout Thursday.
“She was a beautiful person and loved everyone and loved her community.”
Family said 71-year-old Yvonne Smith was on her way to the corner store, something she did every day, when she was hit.
“Devastated. Because I never would have in a million years expected something like this to happen to my aunt,” said Troy Blake, the victim’s niece.
Smith was a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. For many, she was a guardian of the neighborhood.
She loved to laugh and dance, according to her family.
“Everyone around here loved her. Everyone knew her. She'd help you. She'd help your kids. She always had something she wanted to give. She was a beautiful person,” Blake said.
Those who knew her are heartbroken by the loss.
Hartford police said four people in two cars started shooting at each other at Westland and Garden Streets. Neighbors ran for cover and called 911.
“Multiple gunshots, the car speeding off, then I heard the backup and more gunshots,” one witness, who did not wish to be identified, explained.
“As one of the vehicles fled from the shooting scene, they struck a pedestrian that was in the roadway,” Lt. Paul Cicero of the Hartford Police Department said.
For hours crime scene tape wrapped around a large area, with a single shoe left in the middle of the road.
The silver Kia that hit and killed Smith crashed into a nearby building. Police said it was stolen from Manchester.
Officers found a 17-year-old suspect with a gunshot wound who is in stable condition at the hospital, and a 16-year-old.
The 17-year-old is no longer in police custody and was not charged.
“It could be anyone walking out of any store at any time and it happens to them,” Blake said.
Smith’s family said the 71-year-old spent most of her life in Hartford and never wanted to be anywhere else. So for her, they’re asking for help to make the streets safer.
“She loved this community. No matter how much we tried to get her to move out of the community, this was it for her,” Blake said.
A candlelight vigil for Smith will take place Saturday on Nelson Street.