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Mothers United Against Violence Hosts Hartford Vigils In Wake of Fatal Shootings

Ryan Lindsay
Connecticut Public Radio
Louis Soto wore a photo of his longtime friend Anthony Wright at Tuesday's vigil.

Following multiple fatal shootings in Hartford last week, Mothers United Against Violence is holding a series of vigils to honor the victims. They've been organized to give the community an opportunity to grieve, come together and be encouraged.

Anthony Wright was shot and killed on Friday, July 12. His death was the city's 15th homicide of the year. The 28-year-old father grew up in Hartford.  On Saturday night, the alleged shooter, Antoine Keaton, was arrested by Hartford police department's violent crime unit and the U.S. Marshals' violent fugitive task force. Police believe he could be connected to the city's 12th homicide as well.

Wright was shot just a few block away from where he and his friend Louis Soto used to live.

"I knew him from 21 years," Soto said. "He was basically like my brother. He lived right downstairs from me. He used to come up, sleepover all the time."

Soto drove from Boston as soon as he heard that his friend had been shot and killed. He stood wearing a laminated photo of Wright, whose nickname was Quisey, around his neck. Tuesday's vigil was once of three that Mothers United Against Violence is hosting this week, with two to follow on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Credit Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio
Connecticut Public Radio
A message stands among candles and signs at the memorial where 28-year-old Anthony Wright was fatally shot on Main Street in Hartford.

Organizer Deborah Davis says it's important to honor the victims. Davis' son, Phillip Samuel Davis was fatally shot in Hartford in 2010.

"Each family member, each mother deserves to have and give their child the respect and honor that they rightfully deserve," Davis said. "And that's what we're doing, we're honoring that child's life and the legacy that they will leave behind, not just for their children but for their mom and their entire family."

Wright's mother, Sandra Cruz, his young daughter and two sons were among a host of family and friends gathered at the vigil. Cruz brought blue and white star-shaped balloons to add to the memorial where numerous candles covered the sidewalk where he was fatally shot. Multiple police were present during the vigil.

Credit Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio
Connecticut Public Radio
Anthony Wright's daughter Aiyana Wright is held by her mother, Sasha Yvette. Wright's mother, Sandra Cruz, stands to the left of Yvette.

Davis says they're purposeful in hosting the vigils where the violence occurred. 

"This is where the life was lost," Davis said. "And when the life was lost there it's representative of a significant timing, a significant place of where we can honor a life lost."

Mothers United Against Violence will host a vigil on Wednesday night at Bulkeley High School where 34-year-old Jorge Alicea was fatally shot and on Thursday at 48 Earle Street, where 32-year-old Caritaye Davis was shot and killed.

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