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Owner of Waterbury convenience store where 3 were shot 'shaken up': Store owner's friend

The owner opened up shop a little more than a year ago, with a dream and a passion for the community.

WATERBURY, Conn. — The owner of a convenience store in Waterbury where three people were shot Tuesday afternoon is still processing what happened at his local business, according to those acquainted with the owner.

At this point in the investigation, Waterbury Police believe the shooting happened inside Otto's Convenience Store & Smoke Shop on West Main Street.

The men who got shot are 26, 42, and 43 years old. All three of the victims remain in critical condition and are being treated for life-threatening injuries at local hospitals, according to police.  

"He heard a little back and forth verbal, but he didn't think anything of it, but that's when he left and things got bad," said Sonny Keeler, who knows the owner of the store where the shooting happened. 

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Keeler stopped by the shop on West Main Street to check in on his friend after it happened on Wednesday. He said the owner is still trying to process what happened. 

"He's an emotional wreck right now, he's nervous. He's got a lot on the line. He had really good ideas for this [place]," Keeler said. 

Keeler said the owner opened up shop a little more than a year ago, with a dream and a passion for the community.

"His mindset is not what you see in this door. It's not, that is not who he is," Keeler said.

The front door of the store is now riddled with bullet holes and the inside is a wreck. A receipt can still be seen hanging out of the register.

In the meantime, other business owners on the street shared their concerns about the violence in the neighborhood. 

"Every day, there's something going on here versus there. It will be like, one month can go without crime. but here, it's consistent," said Maimouna Camara, whose mom owns Amy African Hair Braiding just across the street from where the shooting happened.

Camara said her mom used to own a salon in the Bronx for two decades. She said the shootings in Waterbury seem to be getting worse than what she saw at her previous location.

"It needs to be better so that those people can come out here and live the life that they want to live without worrying about you know, their kids being involved in this," Camara said.

Police have not released details on whether or not the three people who got shot knew each other, or if one of the gunshot victims was the one who started the shooting.

Police said it's still an active investigation. Anyone with information is requested to contact the Waterbury Police Department detective bureau at (203) 574-6941 or crime stoppers anonymous tip line at (203) 755-1234.


Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jleblanc@fox61.com Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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