Monday, August 11, 2008

Connecticut city imposes curfew after shootings

Connecticut city imposes curfew after shootings

HARTFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) - The Connecticut city of Hartford responded to mounting gun violence on Monday with a 30-day curfew for youths after one man was killed and 10 people were wounded in three separate attacks over the weekend.

"Let there be no doubt that this mayor will impose whatever measures necessary to keep the peace," Eddie Perez, mayor of the city of about 124,500 people, told a news conference.

Starting on Thursday, anyone under the age of 18 who is on the streets after 9 p.m. without an adult will be picked up by police and brought to a community center where a parent or guardian can collect them, he said.

Authorities in Hartford, about 120 miles northeast of New York City, were also setting up a "shooting team" dedicated to prosecuting "shooters to the fullest extent of the law, keeping them off the streets and behind bars," he added.

A "most watched list" of suspects associated with gun violence will be shared with prosecutors, said Perez. He also urged the state to increase supervision of convicted criminals released on bond or probation.

The weekend violence included a shooting on Saturday after the city's annual West Indian Pride Parade in which four teenagers were wounded, along with a 15-month-old girl and a seven-year-old boy who was shot in the head.

The nearly 400-year-old city, a center of the American insurance industry, has been beset by rising violence. About 150 people have been shot this year, compared with about 95 in the same period last year, according to Hartford police.

The city's 71-year-old former deputy mayor was badly beaten and robbed on his routine walk to breakfast on June 2, three days after a surveillance camera recorded a 78-year-old pedestrian struck by a car and laying helpless as passersby stared but did nothing to help.

(Writing by Jason Szep; Editing by John O'Callaghan)


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Honorable James F. Valley
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