‘Praying For Him At The Morgue’

A 25-year-old man was shot dead in a drive-by Thursday morning after buying a pack of cigarettes on Hawthorne Avenue.

Police identified the victim as Rodney Trent Baldwin of Hawthorne Avenue.

Police said Baldwin was struck several times, including at least once in the head.

His killing marks the second shooting in Derby in nine days.

Police are not saying whether Thursday’s killing is related to the Aug. 25 ambush-style attack on Kierron Stanley. The 33-year-old Ansonia resident was shot some five times at the intersection of Chapel and Elm streets just before 4 p.m.

Stanley survived that attack.

Police may not be saying it’s connected — but the dozens of friends and family of Baldwin who gathered on Hawthorne Avenue near an ambulance where Baldwin lay dead seem to think it is.

They believe the friends of the Chapel Street shooters — including someone identified only by a first name, “Keyshawn” — are responsible for Thursday morning’s killing.

Furthermore, they said the Chapel Street and Hawthorne Avenue shootings may be connected to a third shooting that happened in mid-August in New Haven.

Police would not comment on any connections.

According to the dead man’s uncle, Curtis Baldwin, Rodney “Reem” Baldwin had a beef some six months ago with the shooter.

Over what, Curtis Baldwin didn’t know.

“With these kids, he might not like him because he has a car, you know what I’m saying? These kids is crazy. Reem was flashy. He dressed well, he had the car. You never know what sets these kids off,” Baldwin said.

According to Baldwin, the dark-colored car drove by Rodney Baldwin’s residence several times Wednesday night.

According to Baldwin’s friend, Gerald Scott, 28, Baldwin walked to Yolanda’s on Hawthorne Avenue to buy a pack of cigarettes.

He was shot on his way back, as he crossed Seventh Avenue. Neighbors along Hawthorne Avenue reported hearing a flurry of gun shots at about 9:30 a.m.

Police didn’t describe a vehicle, but the family said it was a dark Nissan, possibly.

Scott ran the short distance from Baldwin’s residence to where Baldwin lay in the street.

“He moved one time. We said his name once, he turned his head. He was gone.”

The Connecticut Post reported that Baldwin had just been arrested by state police for multiple drug charges in Bridgeport.

Curtis Baldwin, the uncle, said his nephew worked several jobs. He had recently moved to Hawthorne Avenue to be with his girlfriend and their young child.

“I don’t know what else he was into. I don’t know if he was selling drugs,” Baldwin said.

A pastor and a church elder from Bridgeport were on Hawthorne Avenue to support Baldwin’s extended family.

“All I know we are going to be praying for him at the morgue this afternoon,” Curtis Baldwin said.

Meanwhile, Rodney Baldwin’s aunt, Margaret Owen, put the blame on gun control.

“It’s a problem all across the state, young people blowing each other up with these guns. Too many guns on the street.”

Derby Press Release

The following was posted at 5 p.m. Thursday:

A 25-year-old man was gunned down after buying a pack of cigarettes on Hawthorne Avenue Thursday morning.

Family members identified the victim this morning as Rodney Griffin, who grew up in Bridgeport and moved to Hawthorne Avenue with his girlfriend and young son within the last few years.

However, Derby police this afternoon identified the victim as having a different last name: Rodney Baldwin of Hawthorne Avenue.

Family members and friends said a man named “Keyshawn” drove by in a black Nissan at about 9:30 a.m. and opened fire on Griffin at the intersection of Seventh Avenue, across from Oak Cliff Cemetery.

Derby police have not released the names of any suspects.

Derby police, along with detectives from Ansonia, Shelton and the state police Major Case Squad were still at the scene as of 5 p.m.

Baldwin’s uncle, Curtis Baldwin, said his nephew had some type of altercation with the shooter about six months ago.

“It was supposed to be washed. It was supposed to be over with,” said Baldwin, who was not sure of the specifics of the argument. “From what they’re telling me here today, the guy kept driving by the house last.”

Baldwin woke up this morning and walked to Yolanda’s, a nearby store. The Nissan came down Seventh Street, according to people on the street.

Neighbors all along Hawthorne heard several gunshots, including Gerald Scott, 28, Baldwin’s best friend.

Scott ran down Hawthorne Avenue with Baldwin’s relatives.

“He moved one time. We said his name once, he turned his head. He was gone.”

At 11 a.m., Derby police were not saying whether this shooting was connected to last week’s shooting at the intersection of Chapel and Elm streets, where a man was ambushed in a SUV.

However, family and friends believe it is connected to a shooting in New Haven last month.

The Connecticut Post reported that Baldwin had recently been arrested in Bridgeport on a number of drug related charges.

The following was posted at 11 a.m.

A 25-year-old man is dead after a shooting on Hawthorne Avenue.

The man’s name has not been released, but grief counselors — and police trying to figure out what happened — are talking to his friends and family along Hawthorne Avenue.

Lt. Sal Frosceno said police received a report of gunshots at 9:31 a.m. in the area of Seventh Street, in front of Oak Cliff Cemetery.

Click here for a map of the area.

“Upon arrival, patrol units found one male victim, a victim of gunshot wounds, in the street,” Frosceno said.

The State Police Major Crime Squad is being called in to help process the scene.

Witnesses along Hawthorne Avenue said the violence may have been a result of a drive-by shooting. Police marked off an apparent skid mark from a vehicle with yellow evidence markers.

Police are going door-to-door looking for any possible witnesses.

This is the city’s second shooting in two weeks.

Detectives from Ansonia and Shelton are on the scene as well.

Police are apparently getting good information from people on the street.

As of 12:11 p.m., no suspects were in custody.

“We currently do have investigative leads we are following,” Frosceno said.


posted by: jeannelms on September 5, 2009  8:06pm

What a terrible shame that this happened!  I do like reading your online newspaper.  Keep up the GR8 work!