A Connecticut teen was fatally shot while visiting a memorial for a close friend who was gunned down a month earlier, police and relatives said.
Waldemar Santiago, a 16-year-old freshman at Weaver High School in Hartford, was shot multiple times at about 1:10 a.m. Monday on Martin Street, where investigators believe he was targeted by someone in a car, Hartford police told The Post.
No arrests had been made as of early Tuesday, Hartford police Lt. Aaron Boisvert said while confirming that Waldemar was at a memorial outside a home when he was wounded. The teen was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
The deadly drive-by shooting occurred at a memorial for one of Waldemar’s best friends, Juan Bautista Garcia, who previously lived at the residence before he was shot dead in a parked car nearby in August, the Hartford Courant reported.
Waldemar had stopped by the memorial almost daily to “hang around with his best friend for a little bit,” the teen’s aunt, Karolina Pagan, told the newspaper.
“He didn’t think being here, reflecting with his lost friend, that it would be his last day,” Pagan, 28, said early Monday.
Pagan told NBC Connecticut her nephew was an “energetic teen” with a “smile of gold” while calling on city officials to curb Hartford’s gun violence. Waldemar’s shooting marked the 28th homicide this year, according to the station.
“We need to do better,” Pagan said. “These young kids are not getting to sprout out to young, you know, grown men. Kids are being left without brothers, fathers. You know, moms are left without sons, aunts without nephews. This is so sad.”
Hartford is on pace to tally one of its deadliest years in decades, the Courant reported, mirroring the spike in murder rates across the country.
A spokesman for Hartford Public Schools told the newspaper extra counselors were made available at Weaver High School Monday.
No arrests have been made in Garcia’s Aug. 8 shooting, Boisvert said. He declined to discuss possible suspects in Santiago’s slaying, but said the teen likely knew his killer.
“It’s under investigation, the connection there,” Boisvert told The Post of Waldemar’s visit to the memorial. “He was there at the vigil, but it’s unclear how long.”
Investigators do not have details of the vehicle believed to have been used during the shooting, Boisvert said.