Family, friends and people from across Connecticut gathered in Bridgeport on Wednesday evening for a vigil and rally following the deadly shooting of a 16-year-old by police the day before.
The family of Jayson Negron wept and held each other in front of the teen’s memorial as balloons were let go into the sky.
“Bring Jayson back,” one family member said. “There’s no reason why the police needed to kill him.”
Negron was shot and killed by a Bridgeport officer Tuesday evening after police say he led officers on a chase through the streets in a stolen car. His vehicle hit several cars before the pursuit ended in the shooting near the intersection of Fairfield and Park avenues.
Negron accelerated in reverse and hit an officer, nearly pinning him under the vehicle, before the officer opened fire, killing him, police said.
A 21-year-old in the passenger seat who was shot in the shoulder was identified by his relatives as Julian Fyffe.
Two Bridgeport police officers suffered minor injuries, police said.
Fyffe’s mother, Edris Lomax, said her son told her police blocked the car and pulled guns on them, and that they were trying to get out of the car to surrender when they were shot.
“The door just wouldn’t open. He was trying. Then they’re still yelling, ‘Get out the car, put your hands up’ and he was like, ‘What do you want me to do, put my hands up or get out of the car?” Lomax told NBC Connecticut.
Lomax said her son did not know the car was stolen and had never been in trouble before. She also said she thought Bridgeport police were wrong in the way they handled the situation.
“I’m seeking justice for my son because this shouldn’t have happened. There were other ways y’all could have did, y’all could have stopped them. You had them trapped already in the car. What was the point of them being shot?” Lomax asked.
At a news conference Wednesday, Mayor Joseph Ganim called the incident a tragedy and pledged transparency and communication during the investigation. He said the tragedy affected all of Bridgeport.
“It’s a big city. It’s Connecticut’s biggest city, but it’s a close community,” Ganim said.
At the news conference, Chief Armando Perez said the officer fired his gun because he feared for his life after he alleges Negron backed the car into him and almost pinned him underneath.
“We are depending on the state’s attorney and state police to provide an open and transparent investigation to resolve this matter,” Perez said.
Ganim and Perez both said they would work to streamline the process so something similar does not happen again.
The Connecticut ACLU said it was the third officer-involved shooting in the state in the last few months.
On March 9, an 18-year-old in Waterbury was shot while he was driving a stolen car, police said. Weeks later, on March 29, a teen in Bridgeport was shot in the face while holding a toy gun, according to police.
Negron’s ex-girlfriend, who spoke with News 4 New York with her mother’s permission, left Wednesday’s vigil missing the high school sophomore who she had just seen last week.
“I just feel lost,” Desiree Alicea said. “I don’t know how to explain, the words inside of me, the words, they just feel empty.”
Gov. Dannel Malloy said he’s saddened by the shooting and is asking for patience as an independent review is conducted.