A 16-year-old Windsor boy was found dead with several gunshot wounds after a crash in Hartford early Wednesday morning and police are investigating his death as the city's eighth homicide this year.
Police responded shortly before 1 a.m. after getting a 911 call reporting a crash at the intersection of Albany Avenue and Sigourney Street.
The pedestrian who called 911 told police that a vehicle went through the traffic light on Sigourney Street, crossed Albany Avenue and crashed into a parked vehicle in the church driveway lot, police said.
When officers arrived to the scene, they said they found an unresponsive man in the driver's seat of the vehicle suffering from at least one gunshot wound. Police later identified him as 16-year-old Felipe Lopez, of Windsor. Lopez was the only person inside of the vehicle at the time, police added.
Lopez was transported to St. Francis Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. His death marks the eighth homicide in Hartford in 2019.
"My son was only 16, he would have been 17 on Friday. This shouldn't happen to anybody's kid out there," sald Alma Lopez, Felipe's mother.
According to police, Lopez, who did not have a license, was driving a 1998 Nissan Altima at the time of the incident. The vehicle was not registered and was uninsured, but was not stolen.
Lopez's family said he may have been driving for Uber. Police said they plan to execute a search warrant to search his phone, the vehicle and its contents to help determine what Lopez may have been doing in Hartford.
Officers said they plan to check their C-4 cameras to see if they may have captured anything that could help the investigation. Police are also looking into whether ShotSpotter was activated, but officials said if the shooting happened inside of the vehicle, it would be harder for ShotSpotter to pick it up.
"The vehicle had no gunfire damage so whether the door was open, the window was open or somebody was in the vehicle, that would be determined after the crime scene division processes the vehicle," said Hartford Police Lt. Paul Cicero.
At this point, police said there is no evidence that the shooting was drug or gang related. "You know, incidents like this, it appears, obviously, probably a targeted kind of incident. The detectives are all upstairs and they're working diligently right now and we'll probably come up with a pretty good conclusion shortly," Lt. Cicero added.
Windsor Public School officials said Lopez was a high school student enrolled in a program at LP Wilson.
"It is with deep sadness that I must share the news of the dath of Windsor student, Felipe Lopez, who passed away from a serious injury in Hartford, CT, early this morning. Felipe has been a member of the Windsor school community for a few years and will be remembered fondly by his friends and fellow students," Windsor Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Craig A. Cooke said in a statement.
There are grief counselors at LP Wilson and Windsor High School on Wednesday and they will remain there through the week as needed.
"Losing a member of the school community can be quite devastating for students and staff as well as the greater Windsor community," Dr. Cooke added.
Police said they do not have anyone in custody at this time.
Hartford Police Major Crimes Detectives are investigating the homicide.
"The Hartford Police Department is saddened by the loss of life and we will be pursuing every lead to bring justice," Hartford Police posted on Facebook.
"As you said, every homicide is difficult. I mean, you know, there's a lot of emotions: sad, anger, you know. Why is a 16-year-old driving around at 1 a.m., you know? Why is he in a car that is not registered, uninsured? You know, what's he doing out there? Why did somebody feel as though they thought the best course of action was to take this young boy's life? So yeah, there's a lot of emotion there," Lt. Cicero added.
Anyone with information is urged to call the tip line at (860) 722-8477.