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Hartford mayor announces Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program to help repeated gun violence victims

This program is a collaborative effort of hospitals and gun violence advocates in providing resources for those who always get caught in the line of fire.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Mayor Luke Bronin of Hartford announced a new team initiative called the "Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program."

It uses a special approach for people who are repeated victims of gun violence and offers them resources. 

"In 2002, I lost my son Randy to gun violence so I know firsthand the trauma and all the things parents go through," said Henrietta Beckman, co-founder and director of Mothers United Against Violence

Beckman said she knows all too well what it is like to lose a loved one to gun violence.

RELATED: Hartford's faith, community leaders make New Year's resolution to stop gun violence in the city

Since her son's death 20 years ago, she has become a key voice in MUAV, an organization that has attended every vigil. 

At Thursday's news conference, she joined forces with other partners, including hospitals in offering additional resources for those who repeatedly get caught up in the line of fire. 

"This matters so much because we know that one of the greatest tragedies of the epidemic of gun violence are those whose lives are touched by gun violence are often touched by gun violence again and again," said Bronin. 

This announcement came just after the two daytime shootings in Hartford, one of them that left 59-year-old Guillermo Gonzalez dead on Zion Street when police said he was not the intended target. 

RELATED: 'It's horrible out here': Vigil held for Hartford homicide victim

His death marks the 13th homicide in the city. 

Gonzalez's niece spoke to FOX61 about her frustration.

"The year to me is just starting and we're already at 13?" said Joanna Rodriguez, niece of Gonzalez. "He was in the right place at the wrong time. He was home. This is his home. He lived here. Why can't somebody just step five feet out of their home to grab a bite to eat?" 

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This initiative has been made possible through American Rescue Plan dollars. 

"Right now, we're seeing rates of firearm violence that are the highest in the last 25 years," said Kevin Borrup, executive director of the Injury Prevention Center at CT Children’s. 

RELATED: Hartford family mourns loved-one through vigil

Hartford Police said both shootings are still under investigation. 

If you have any information or witnessed either shooting, Gonzalez's family and police are urging anyone to come forward. 

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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