Pero seeks community effort in addressing violence issue

New London - The mayor is calling for school officials, police and other agencies to look closely at the violence that has erupted during the past few months on city streets.

After the arrests of six teenagers Tuesday in connection with the Oct. 29 stabbing death of 25-year-old Matthew Chew, and the arrests of three other teens Sunday night after a fight at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, Mayor Rob Pero said he is committed to addressing the problem.

"We've caught the individuals but we have to get to the root cause of why they're out there causing disturbances,'' Pero said Tuesday. "The chief has done a good job in trying to work with the (schools) superintendent in getting involved with addressing some issues, but we have to get all players around the table - youth affairs, police, schools. We need to have a committee pretty much communicating ... to aggressively address these issues."

Adults in the community need to look at why some youths are harboring so much anger, Pero said. "We have to delve into whether or not we're addressing the needs of these individuals from a social aspect," he said.

Chew, who lived in a Huntington Street apartment, was randomly targeted and killed, according to police. Two of the teenagers who were arrested have been charged with murder and the four others with accessory to murder.

In the disturbance in the emergency room at the hospital Sunday, three 16-year-olds were charged with breach of peace, disorderly conduct and interfering with police.

Hospital personnel notified police that three teens were seeking treatment for injuries consistent with being struck with a bat.

At the same time, police were investigating a brawl that had occurred at about 9 p.m. near Granite and Hempstead streets. Police said a large group of youths was fighting with bats and sticks. When police arrived, the brawlers fled, leaving several weapons behind, including knives, baseball bats and broom handles.

At the hospital Sunday, police said, the teens were uncooperative and refused to say who assaulted them or why.

They were released into the custody of their parents, according to Deputy Chief Marshall Segar. One assaulted his mother at home and was arrested again, Segar said. He was then released into the custody of a relative who was willing to care for him.

Two of the 16-year-olds arrested Sunday also had been arrested two days earlier. Police said Tuesday that they responded Friday to the area of 76 Truman St. after plainclothes officers saw three juveniles - the 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old - carrying sticks in their hands.

Police stopped them and found a broom handle, a metal pipe and a knife. All three were charged Friday with carrying a dangerous weapon.

The teenagers arrested Friday and Sunday have been referred to Juvenile Court. Police are not releasing their names because they are under 18.

The incidents are still under investigation and more arrests are expected, police said.

i.larraneta@theday.com

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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