Family offers reward for information about Groton City homicide last December
Groton — The grieving family of a man shot and killed last December made a plea Tuesday for people to come forward with information about the person or persons responsible for their loved one’s death.
Ronald Whitfield Sr., 59, of New London was shot on Dec. 12, 2021, near the 40 Thieves bar at 171 Bridge St. and died of his injuries on Dec. 16, police said. The family is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for his murder, Groton City police Chief Erick Jenkins announced at a news conference Tuesday outside the city municipal building.
[naviga:img class="img-responsive" alt="Ronald Whitfield Sr." src="/Assets/news2019/RonaldWhitfield.jpg"/]
Ronald Whitfield Sr., 59, of New London was fatally shot on Dec. 12, 2021, near the 40 Thieves bar in Groton City. His family and the police are seeking information in the shooting. (Courtesy of his family)
Whitfield’s mother, Julia Whitfield, who stood at the podium with a framed photo of her son, said her son was a sibling, father and grandfather. She said she has pain in her heart that she can’t promise will go away, but she hopes the person responsible for his death will be found and prosecuted.
“We are asking the public for help. Please help us find the person that’s responsible for my son not being here with us. If you see something, say something. If you hear something, say something,” Julia Whitfield said, as she held back tears. Timothy Whitfield, Ronald Whitfield’s brother, put his arm around her as she spoke.
Family member Tia Pires read aloud the poem “Remember Me”: “Don’t remember me with sadness, don’t remember me with tears, remember all the laughter, we’ve shared throughout the years. Now I am contented that my life it was worthwhile, knowing as I passed along the way I made somebody smile. When you are walking down the street and you’ve got me on your mind, I’m walking in your footsteps only half a step behind. So please don’t be unhappy just because I’m out of sight, remember that I’m with you each morning, noon and night.”
“He’s not here with us physically. Someone took him from us, so please speak up,” she said. “He did not deserve this. My family didn’t deserve this. It went from a night of going out and having fun to me and my brother being pulled off the bar tops and being notified of the most unfortunate news, so again please speak up. Thank you.”
Pires said Whitfield was her brother’s father and a “second dad” to her. She said he was a forklift driver at U.S Foods in Norwich and was a poet, fisherman and chef, but “grandpa first.”
Jenkins said the city police department received a 911 call about 1:31 a.m. Dec. 12 reporting that a person was shot in the area of the 40 Thieves bar. Police responded and the victim, Whitfield, was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London and later he was transferred to Yale New Haven Hospital, where he died on Dec. 16.
Jenkins said Whitfield had been celebrating the holidays at the bar and then walked out to the parking lot, where he was shot. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and ruled the death a homicide.
“Ronald’s family and friends are devastated by his loss,” Jenkins said. “The City of Groton detectives believe that there are witnesses who may have seen the incident or know the identity of the person or persons responsible or since December 12 have heard of this incident and are familiar with the circumstances and the people that may be responsible for this senseless murder.”
He asked anyone who may have seen or heard anything about the incident, even after the fact, or heard rumors about it to come forward: “Any little bit helps. We’re asking the public’s help to try find the person or persons responsible for this senseless murder.”
Jenkins said the investigation is ongoing and city police have been investigating since the incident and have reached out to other local police agencies and state police as needed. Groton Town police also responded to the incident.
Jenkins asked anyone with information to reach out to the city’s detective unit by calling (860) 446-4186 or by emailing Cpl. Brittany de la Cruz at email@example.com. Information will remain confidential.