CrimeNew Haven police make arrest in connection with 2013 slaying
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Tyhitt Bember, 22, is charged with felony murder, among other offenses, in connection with the slaying of Javier Martinez, 18, who was killed in December 2013.
A tree and educational wetlands were planted in honor of Javier Martinez, an 18-year-old Common Ground High School student who was shot and killed in New Haven in December 2013.
Family members of Javier Martinez, an 18-year-old Common Ground High School student who was shot and killed in New Haven in December 2013, plant a tree in his honor at the New Haven charter school.
Friends and family plant a tree in honor of Javier Martinez May 10 near the spot where he was killed.
Zaida Martinez, mother of slain high school student Javier Martinez, pauses during the planting of a tree in his honor May 10.
(Photo by Peter Hvizdak ó New Haven Register) Casket of homicide victim Javier Martinez, 18, leaves Iglesia Jehova mi Roca church in Hamden Friday morning January 3, 2014 after his funeral. Martinez was a victim of a shooting Saturday, December 28, 2013.
New Haven Police Department Seal
NEW HAVEN — Police announced an arrest Thursday in the case of, 18, who was killed in December 2013, as his family shared memories of their loved one, taken before his time.
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Tyhitt Bember, 22, of Orchard Street, was charged with felony murder, criminal attempt to commit first-degree robbery and carrying a pistol without a permit, police said. He is currently incarcerated in connection with a non-fatal shooting that occured near James Hillhouse High School in January 2014, police said.
Martinez wasin the area of Hemingway Street and Russell Street on Dec. 28, 2013.
Sgt. Bertram Etienne said Martinez was walking from his residence to a friend’s house when two men approached him. One tried to rob him; a struggle ensued. Martinez was shot as he attempted to run from the scene.
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Police declined to offer details about the case at this time, as the investigation remains in progress and another arrest is expected. The warrant for the charges against Bember was sealed Thursday, court officials said.
Etienne, assigned the case as a detective at the time, said individuals did not cooperate with the investigation at the time of the shooting. But five years later, there was cooperation that brought new information to light.
Family members shared their thoughts about their loved one, with fresh tears and emotion in their voices, describing him as a young man, full of promise, who wanted to work to better New Haven.
“When this person took my son’s life, he was also (taking mine),” said Zaida Martinez, Javier’s mother, in a statement read aloud by his grandmother, Sonia Natal Martinez. “I hope that he pays for all the pain he caused my family. I hope he rots in hell. That would be justice for Javi.”
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“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about (Javier Martinez),” said Sonia Natal Martinez. “Love, Javi.”
“On December 28, 2013, our family’s life was forever changed, when we got a call saying that our pride and joy was no longer with us,” said Kathy Sanchez, his aunt. “A high school senior from Common Ground with high honors — and a smile that would melt your heart — Javi was an amazing soul that was a friend to everyone he crossed paths with.”
Students, staff and officials at Common Ground High School in May 2014 celebrated and memorialized Martinez, a senior at the school when he died, with anto the memory of their
Students and staff at the charter high school worked with landscape architect Mark Papa and soil scientist David LordIt includes spaces for reflection, a memorial tree and plaque, a boardwalk and viewing platform for children’s and community educational programs and more than 300 trees, shrubs and wetland plants.
Sanchez said Javier Martinez was the oldest of six boys, a role model to his siblings and cousins, devoted to his family. His life was hard — fueling him to “do better, to be better, for his self, his siblings and family.” He planted trees with the Urban Resource Initiative, attempting to make his city a more beautiful, welcoming place, Sanchez said.
25 arrests made in operation ‘Fantasy Island’ in New Haven
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“The senseless murder of Javi put a whole in our hearts that will never be healed,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez read a portion of an essay Javier Martinez wrote before his death.
“My drug-plagued environment makes me wish for a better world for my five younger brothers and the many other struggling families in my community. Then, there will be a place where we don’t have to sell drugs or work three jobs just to be comfortable. Teenagers wouldn’t carry guns just to feel safe, and sirens would become more of a memory then a reality,” Sanchez quoted. “I want to work with people to help them from New Haven’s violent and corrupt environment. Kids will stop devoting themselves to the streets... and won’t be ripped away from their parents by a bullet or a badge.”
Sanchez ended her remarks with a final thought.
“A dream deferred is a dream denied,” Sanchez said, quoting Langston Hughes. “And you, Javi, were a dreamer. We will always love you.”
Police Chief Otoniel Reyes said the arrest was an example to the department’s commitment to cases, even those that may seem to have stagnated, and to the people of New Haven.
“Today, we honor (Javier’s) memory, and we respect the life that he was. And we stand here, with this family, to tell the community that we will not forget about the lives that are lost,” said Reyes, thanking Etienne and other department members for the efforts. “(To) all other families who have not had closure yet, we are not forgetting about your loved ones. We are continuing to work these cases and hope that one day we will bring closure to you as well. Until then, we stand with these families.”
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