Hartford Police Investigating Homicide

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HARTFORD — A 25-year-old man was shot to death near the parking lot of a North End school on Wednesday morning.

The man, who has not been identified, was found in the north parking lot of Jumoke Academy at Milner, at 104 Vine St., shortly after 10:15 a.m., said Hartford Police Lt. Brian Foley. The man had been shot in the torso.

Police performed CPR at the scene. He was transported to St. Francis Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Foley said.

Students and staff in the school were never in any danger, and none of them witnessed the shooting, he said.

A “significant portion” of the crime occurred on school grounds, he said. The crime scene extends through several properties in the neighborhood.

About 100 Milner students were attending a summer camp at the school when police issued a “lock-in,” which was lifted in the early afternoon.

“We had no idea anything was going on,” said Michael Sharpe, CEO of the Jumoke Academy charter school, which manages Milner through a partnership with the Hartford school system. Sharpe was in the Milner building throughout the school day Wednesday and said he did not hear any gunshots or commotion that morning.

Staff realized there was a police investigation outside when a code was announced “telling us they needed us to stay in our rooms,” Sharpe said. “The kids were totally calm, relaxed. They were just working away, doing their projects. They had no idea police were on the premises.”

Milner is a chronically struggling prekindergarten to grade 8 school that entered the state’s Commissioner’s Network last summer with a turnaround plan. Over the past year, there has been an emphasis on creating a calm environment for students, Sharpe said.

“Given the seriousness of what was going on outside, it was encouraging that inside, everyone was doing what they were supposed to do … The thing we all understand is a lot of our urban schools are in neighborhoods where there is a potential for problems,” he added. The violence is “not a surprise, but it’s a disappointment.”

Police do not believe any students or staff are connected to the shooting.

The Hartford Police Department’s Major Crimes division is investigating.

By Vanessa de la Torre and Stephen Busemeyer, Hartford Courant

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