Hartford police have obtained an arrest warrant for a man suspected of shooting a pastor who was putting flags out for Memorial Day, then shooting a 27-year-old man at another location 14 minutes later.
Aaron J. Taylor, 25, of Windsor, is wanted on attempted murder and assault charges in connection to both shootings and police are searching for him. They said to "use caution when dealing with Taylor as the firearm in this incident has not been recovered."
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said it will take a community effort to end the streak of violence in the capital city.
"We’ve seen in the past that if we work together, work together strongly, that we can reduce violence in our communities," Segarra said. “.... If you see this person you’re to contact the police and not try to be a police officer or try to apprehend this person on your own, but we will benefit from the information of locating this individual.”
Taylor is suspected of shooting Rev. Dr. Augustus Sealy, 54, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, outside the First Church of the Nazarene at 932 Capital Ave. just before 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 24, police said. The pastor was putting out flags for Memorial Day services on his fifth anniversary at the church, according to police. Sealy is still recovering from being shot twice in the right leg and once in the left shoulder.
Robert Jones, 27, of Hartford, was shot at least six times at about 6:41 a.m. that Sunday at 402 Garden St. and police believe Taylor was the person who shot him. An ambulance brought Jones to the emergency room at Saint Francis Hospital, where he was later listed in serious, but stable condition.
Taylor was last seen driving a black Nissan Maxima and the marker plate is unknown, police said. He is also suspected in other crimes, but police did not release information on those other incidents.
Surveillance video of Taylor buying a Red Bull at a Hartford convenience store helped police identify him as a suspect.
“We had faith that something would happen and that God would have that justice and that God is the judge out there,” Sister Jocelyn Eaves, of the First Church of the Nazarene, said.
Police said the motive for both crimes is unclear. Investigators said earlier this week that they are looking into whether the shooting of the pastor might have been a hate crime.
"I can tell you we do hear from residents that the church is very accepting and open to the LGBT community," Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley previously said. "So there were some statements made at the scene that certainly keep the idea of it being a hate crime open to our investigators."
Eaves said that the survival of the pastor "is truly a miracle." Members of the church said they were not only praying for their pastor, but also for his shooter.
“If we don’t do that, then the world will continually be corrupt and violence will continue," Eaves said.
The warrant for Taylor carries charges of criminal attempt to commit murder and first-degree assault, as well as a $1.2 million court-set bond. He has a long criminal record, including carrying a pistol without a permit, escape and resisting arrest.
The department asks anyone with information on the suspect to contact police.