New London shooting ruled a homicide

Mari Vega of Groton sits in her car on Connecticut Avenue in New London Friday looking at the  memorial for Jesus Pinero, a close family friend who was shot to death on the site Thursday night.
Buy Photo Dana Jensen The Day Mari Vega of Groton sits in her car on Connecticut Avenue in New London Friday looking at the memorial for Jesus Pinero, a close family friend who was shot to death on the site Thursday night.

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 for the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The medical examiner has ruled the death of Jesus Pinero a homicide.

Police said in a press release that Pinero, who was "known to police," may have been targeted by his killer. Pinero was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11 p.m.

The shooting Thursday was the city's first homicide of 2013, police Deputy Chief Peter Reichard said.

Mari Vega of Groton was sitting in her car Friday near a makeshift memorial for Pinero on Connecticut Avenue. She said Pinero, a close family friend, had been the intended target of another shooting that occurred June 11 outside Universal Food Store in Hodges Square.

"They tried to get him, and look at (what) happened today," said Vega. "He was a good guy, good to everyone."

Vega 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 that case and remains incarcerated.

Diane Griffin, who co-owns a hair salon on Williams Street, said she knew the victim as Gianni Jesus Pinero. She said he was the father of her 4-year-old grandson.

Griffin, standing outside the salon Friday, was visibly upset. With tears in here eyes, she said she last saw her daughter at 2:30 a.m. and that the young woman was also shaken.

Griffin said Pinero was released from prison about a year ago and was a good father to the child. Her grandson hasn't been told about his father's death, she said.

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 a memorial sprang up as soon as the roadway was reopened. Among the flowers, a teddy bear and candles was a card that identified Pinero as "Gee." One writer, who identified herself as Shahida, thanked "Gee" for being there for her and taking care of her kids.

Smith said an SUV with New Hampshire plates was towed from the scene. Around 9 p.m. Thursday she heard what sounded like five gunshots, she said.

"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 said, 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?"

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.

i.larraneta@theday.com

Day staff writer Karen Florin contributed to this report.

Jesus Pinero
Jesus Pinero
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