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New London — A 29-year-old man who was shot and killed Thursday night in the area of Connecticut Avenue and Prest Street died of multiple gunshot wounds to the torso and extremities, according to a spokeswoman at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
The medical examiner has ruled the death of Jesus Pinero a homicide.
Deputy Chief Peter Reichard said Friday that the investigation is in its early stages and an arrest has not been made.
Diane Griffin, who co-owns a hair salon on Williams Street, said the victim was known to her as Gianni Jesus Pinero. She said Pinero was the father of her 4-year-old grandson.
Griffin stood outside the hair salon visibly upset, with teary, red eyes. Griffin said she last saw her daughter at 2:30 a.m. and that the young woman was also shaken.
She said Pinero was released from prison about a year ago and was a good father to the child. Griffin said that her grandson hasn’t been told about his father’s death.
According to public records, Pinero has convictions for possession of narcotics with intent to sell, interfering with an officer, motor vehicle violations, second-degree assault and third-degree assault. He was sentenced to four years in prison in 2009 for second-degree assault and was released in September 2012. His last known address was 423 E. Main St., Norwich.
Police closed the intersections of Connecticut Avenue with Prest and McDonald streets until a little after 8 a.m. Friday.
Terra Smith, who lives at 44 Connecticut Ave., said as soon as the roadway was opened, a memorial sprang up. The memorial of flowers, a teddy bear and candles had a card that identified the victim as “Gee.” One writer, who identified herself as Shahida, thanked “Gee” for being there for her and taking care of her kids.
Smith said that a SUV with New Hampshire plates was towed from the scene.
She said around 9 p.m. she heard what sounded like five gunshots.
“Then I heard a guy say, ‘Huh,’ and then I heard more gunshots,” said Smith. “He was alive at the scene. The police officer was comforting him and told him not to get up. He kept telling the officer that he was in a lot of pain.”
One neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said she saw the victim briefly run before collapsing on the ground.
Maria Linares, who lives at 33 Connecticut Ave., said she was startled by the sound of gunshots in the distance. Then, she said, she heard a succession of three gunshots followed by a pause, which was followed by five more shots.
When she went outside, she saw a male, dark-skinned victim with medium-length hair, lying on the ground and moaning in agony.
“I lived here for five years and we have never had any type of problem like this,” said Linares. “I’m a mother so my heart goes out to his family. Why the need for violence? Where has the respect for life gone?”
Mari Vega, of Groton, sat in her car outside of Pinero’s memorial on Connecticut Avenue. Vega said that Pinero, a close family friend, was the intended target of another shooting that occurred on June 11 outside Universal Food Store at Hodges Square.
Vega said she and her 6-year-old son were inside the store when Pinero greeted them. As they walked outside the store, a man approached them and called out for “Gee.”
Vega said that Pinero ignored the man because he was with her son. Vega said the man started shooting and she grabbed her son while Pinero fled.
“They tried to get him and look at (what) happened today,” said Vega. “He was a good guy, good to everyone.”
Vega, however, said she did not know why Pinero would be the target of two shootings.
The shooter in the Hodges Square incident, Jamel J. McIntosh, of Norwich, was arrested in connection with the case and remains incarcerated.
Police said in a press release that Pinero, who was “known to police,” on Thursday may have been targeted by his killer. Pinero was taken to the hospital and was pronounced dead at 11 p.m.
Police early Friday were still at the scene taking photographs of the area and gathering evidence found on the ground. The state police Major Crime Squad was also at the scene and assisted in the investigation.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact New London police at (860) 447-5269 or (860) 447-1481. All calls will remain confidential.
Staff writer Karen Florin contributed to this report.