Bridgeport police probe fatal shooting
BRIDGEPORT — A blood-soaked curb marked the spot on Berkshire Avenue where a man was fatally shot Friday night.
Michael Watkins, 26, of Bridgeport, was found on the street by emergency responders who had been called to the scene of an apparent assault just before 10 p.m., according to police. They found he had been shot in the head, Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez said.
Watkins was pronounced dead a short time later at Bridgeport Hospital.
By noon Saturday, a crowd at the site where Watkins was shot had grown to 20 people. the blood stain was less conspicuous, surrounded by a growing memorial of roses and tall prayer candles.
Most of the visitors appeared to be about Watkins’ age. Some cried, others held each other, and many spoke to each other across the street after laying their flowers and lighting candles.
Many of the mourners had heard the news through a chain of text messages late Friday night.
“(Mike) is somebody who is laughing, smiling, good heart — caring person,” said his friend Dannielle Wright, 23, a hospice care worker who joined in the impromptu tribute . “And to hear something like that happen, I mean, I mean it got to me, it shook me up.”
Watkins’ death was Bridgeport’s fourth homicide of 2017 and the city’s second in a single day. Early Friday morning, 26-year-old Nidia Gonzalez was stabbed to death, setting off a manhunt for her boyfriend, 39-year-old Oscar Hernandez, who police said fled with their child before being captured in Pennsylvania.
The stabbing and shooting incidents had no apparent connection. But Bridgeport police were trying to determine whether the nighttime shooting had anything to do with another, unidentified male who arrived bleeding at St. Vincent’s Medical Center shortly after Watkins was gunned down. Police said the other victim had a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the chest.
No arrests were made Saturday in Watkins’ death. Both shooting incidents were being investigated by the Bridgeport Police Department homicide unit. Police asked anyone with information about the shootings to call the department’s Tips Line at 203-576-TIPS(8477).
Watkins was born in Jamaica, where his mother lives, and went to Central High School, Wright said. The last time she saw him was at the Stop & Shop on Main street where, according to a manager, he performed a variety of job duties.
“This was somebody that my mom knew as well,” Watkins said. “I feel like, if you could introduce a friend to your mom, it must be a valuable friend. So, it’s tough.”