A sister returned to the spot in Fair Haven where her brother lay dead with a bullet in his head.
She had a message for those who shot her much loved brother, and for neighbors who let 40 minutes go by before they called emergency services.
Renee Evans was one of more than 50 people bearing profound grief and flickering memorial candles who gathered on a frigid Tuesday night at the corner of East Pearl and Pierpont streets on the residential bluff overlooking the Quinnipiac River.
They formed a semi-circle right beneath the “Do Not Enter/One Way” sign where her brother Varnouard Hall, age 33, was found by EMTs and pronounced dead on the spot Friday night.
“The coward [who did this] doesn’t know how he tore up this family. My brother lay on the ground for 40 minutes. If you saw it, say it! This is crazy. I can’t imagine what life will be like without my brother,” Renee Evans said through tears as friends and family members supported her.
The vigil included former mayoral candidate Henry Fernandez, who lives right across the street from the scene. Newhallville Alder Brenda Foskey-Cyrus and Beaver Hills Alder Claudette Robinson-Thorpe, members of the new People’s Caucus on the Board of Alders, attended, too, Robinson-Thorpe said they showed up to show support, not to make remarks, beyond commenting on the stark human reality of the ongoing murders in New Haven. “This could be my family. ” said Robinson-Thorpe.
Before family members spoke, neighbors and friends recalled Varnouard, a Fair Haven native who was called Nard, as a humble, easygoing, joking man, whose friendship was valued.
“My little brother was his best friend. He was preparing to be a CNA [ certified nursing assistant],” said Nadine Bush, a neighbor. Then she and another friend, Tracey Perdue, added their candles carefully to two dozen other flames perched precariously in a snowbank beneath the traffic signpost.
Queen, the mother of Hall’s child, Martin Hall Rojas, barely held back tears as she held their son nearby and spoke to the crowd. Her eyes were cast down and focused on the burning candles at her feet as she spoke: “Nard always had a way to make you laugh. He had my heart. My son loves and adores him.”
Then she addressed the man who was no longer there: “My son’s birthday is going to come this Sunday. He’s going [to come here] and sing happy birthday, for you. I’m going to see you again.”
The investigation is still in its early stages, said Fair Haven District Manager Sgt. Herb Johnson.
No funeral date has yet been set. “I just got his body back today,” said Hall’s mother.