Police are investigating the scene of a shooting that left one man dead and another wounded on Thompson Street in New Haven on Monday afternoon.
Michael Judkins, 26, of New Haven, was one of two men shot on Thompson Street about 1:23 p.m. He was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital with serious injuries sustained in the shooting and was pronounced dead at the hospital later Monday afternoon, according to the New Haven Police Department.
The other victim, a 20-year-old man who was also from New Haven, was also rushed to the same hospital where he was being treated for injuries that were believed to be non-life-threatening, according to the New Haven Police Department. He had not yet been identified.
The shooting took place just feet from the entrance to the Farmington Canal Greenway recreational trail between Newhall Street and Shelton Avenue. Police said the shooting was believed to be an isolated incident between the two men, who were known to police.
At least eight evidence markers were still on the ground on Thompson Street as of around 5 p.m., most next to a black Audi sedan that was parked on the side of the street with its headlights on. One white sneaker lay on the road next to the car.
Police at the scene said that investigators were reconstructing the crime scene and canvassing the neighborhood. Crime scene tape ran across the street in both directions, and a perimeter closed the street to traffic. Police said the Bureau of Identification responded to the scene and collected ballistic evidence related to the shooting.
The shooting came as New Haven Public School students returned to school Monday for the first day of the 2022-23 school year.
As school buses made their routes through the area, two children dressed in school uniforms and carrying backpacks were stopped at one of the crime scene perimeters on Thompson Street and directed to go around the block to get home.
A neighbor and lifelong New Haven resident stopped by the crime scene and wiped tears from her eyes as she looked past the crime scene tape, down Thompson Street.
“This used to be my street. It was the best place to come to, it was all families,” said Joanne Payne.
Payne said she used to live not far from the scene of the shooting and recalled a neighborhood where, years ago, everyone knew each other. Children played double dutch in the street, and neighbors gathered for block parties.
Now, she said, it feels like a war zone.
“This is like Vietnam,” she said. “We’ve got memorials on every corner for ‘someone was shot here, someone was shot there.’ Imagine kids walking to school every day and seeing that. It becomes the norm, and this is not normal.”
Payne, a grandmother to eight grandkids ranging from 9 months old to a high school senior, said that lately, she feels like she’s “just trying to keep them off the street.”
“But they’re not supposed to be living like that,” she said. “I want them to be able to come and play hide and seek and play football and play tag.”
She said she thinks to curb the violence, people need to get to know their neighbors again and have conversations with each other.
She also said she thinks the violence is the result of a lack of affordable housing, affordable recreational activities and support services. She said she thinks people need to be able to focus on their relationships and communication rather than just worrying about staying alive and housed.
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“It’s called survival, that’s what this is,” she said, pointing to the crime scene.
Payne said that typically after a shooting like this one, rumors swirl about one person shooting another for payback of some sort.
“This has got to stop,” she said through tears. “We’ve got enough to fight against, we don’t need to fight against each other.”
At least nine police vehicles and as many officers and detectives remained on the scene on Monday evening and the street was still closed to traffic.
Police said in a statement that detectives from the Major Crimes Unit were leading the ongoing investigation.
Anyone who witnessed the shooting and had not yet spoken to police was asked to contact the department’s investigative services division at 203-946-6304. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can submit tips by calling 1-866-888-8477 or by texting “NHPD” and the tip to 274637, police said.
The New Haven Police Department announced Monday afternoon that the department’s newly sworn-in chief, Karl Jacobsen, and Mayor Justin Elicker were scheduled to speak publicly on Tuesday morning about the city’s recent violent crimes and the efforts to combat them.