Police arrest slaying suspect
Hartford mourns death of 17-year-old student
HARTFORD – As investigators tracked down the man suspected of gunning down 17-year-old Karlonzo Taylor, a community tried to come to terms Thursday with the death of a teen who officials said was finishing a promising senior year in high school.
“That kid was on his way to doing something great,” said Eric Crawford, director of family services for the Capitol Region Education Council. “[ Taylor] wasn’t a street kid. He wasn’t a kid who hung out with bad kids. I don’t know what happened. … This kind of nonsense needs to stop.”
Taylor, a Hartford resident, was found wounded along with another 17-year-old boy Wednesday in a narrow landing on the second floor of a Park Street apartment building. Taylor later died.
On Thursday, William Moore, a 24-yearold Bristol man, was accused of opening
fire on the two amid what police called a personal feud with Taylor.
The second victim, whom police did not identify Thursday, was at a city hospital in serious but stable condition. Friends say Taylor and the second victim were inseparable.
Throughout the day, as Hartford Major Crimes Division detectives were closing in on the suspected shooter, friends of Taylor’s shared their grief. In dozens of social media posts, many said they could not comprehend that their teenage friend was the latest victim of gun violence in the city.
At a hastily planned memorial outside the Park Street apartment building Thursday evening, Tyzhuan Hayes, a longtime friend, said he never knew Taylor to have a problem with anyone.
“He was the peace for everybody,” Hayes said, flanked by friends who hung cards with Taylor’s picture around their necks. “Before it raised to another level, he brought the peace.”
Hayes said Taylor was a good kid, and that rubbed off on those around him. “He kept you out of trouble by hanging out with you,” he added. “He did not like the drama. He did not like the violence.”
Some in the city who do outreach with troubled city youth learned Taylor’s name only after word spread of the shooting.
“I can’t even imagine him being a targeted victim in this situation. He wasn’t wired like that,” Crawford said. “I was fortunate enough to meet with him several times. I’ve always thought this kid was a future leader, his insight on life, where he is, where he’s going. He was taking responsibility for his life.”
Taylor had attended CREC’s Aerospace & Engineering Academy, but officials said he moved to the Impact Academy in Hartford starting in September 2017.
“CREC is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Karlonzo Taylor last evening,” Superintendent Tim Sullivan said in a statement. “Karlonzo was a CREC student since 2013, when he was in sixth grade. During his time at CREC, he endeared himself to many staff and students who are devastated by his sudden and tragic death.”
The school district had counselors and staff on hand at both the Aerospace & Engineer Academy and the Impact Academy on Thursday to help students through grief.
“This one really hurts. This is a kid that was engaged in schools,” Crawford said. “He excelled. ... He would be there every day. This would be his second year. He was showing real good leadership skills. He was a real good role model for others.”
Crawford said the kids he spent time with were all good kids.
The Rev. Henry Brown of Mothers United Against Violence visited with Taylor’s family and said they are devastated and trying to understand why Taylor was killed.
“It’s an extremely difficult time right now that we have to mourn at 17-year-old who was vibrant and had a lot of potential,” Brown said.
Taylor’s killing was Hartford’s 20th homicide of 2018.
Investigators obtained a warrant for Moore’s arrest less than 24 hours after the midday shooting Wednesday inside the Park Street apartment building.
With the help of Bristol police and a regional SWAT team, Hartford police took Moore into custody Thursday in Bristol. He was charged with murder, first-degree assault and criminal possession of a firearm, police said.
“This investigation’s success and quick closure was a direct result of the tireless devotion and dedication by the members of the Hartford Police patrol division, Major Crimes and Crime Scene Division,” said Lt. Paul Cicero, head of the Major Crimes Division. “Four search warrants were drafted and approved during this investigation, which ultimately led to probable cause to arrest William Moore.”
Moore was held late Thursday on $1.5 million bail and was expected to appear in Superior Court in Hartford on Friday, police said.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin on Thursday commended the work of detectives while saying the city mourns for Taylor.
“Karlonzo Taylor’s death is heartbreaking, and Hartford grieves with his family today. To lose any member of our community to gun violence is painful, but to lose someone so young is devastating,” Bronin said. “Our police department worked with tremendous speed and skill to identify and arrest a suspect in this murder within 24 hours, and I want to thank the HPD for their extraordinary work.”
He said the city was working with youth-focused organizations to make sure friends and family get the support needed.
At Compass Peacebuilders, a Hartford youth outreach organization, staff members worked Thursday with those directly affected by the shooting.
“We are trying to get their minds off of that stuff,” said Dean Jones, director of Peacebuilders.
Several people gathered Thursday evening at the Park Street building where 17-year old Karlonzo Taylor was fatally shot. On Thursday, William Moore, a 24-year-old Bristol man, was accused of opening fire on Taylor and another teen.