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Victim in Waterbury's 3rd homicide of the week identified by police

Police said they've obtained an arrest warrant for the suspect they believe was responsible for the incident.

WATERBURY, Conn. — A Waterbury man is dead after he was found shot outside of a restaurant in the city early Thursday morning, police said. 

Police were called to Berties West Indian Restaurant on North Main Street just before 1 a.m. after gunshots were heard in the area.

When they got to the scene, they found a 32-year-old man with a gunshot wound laying down outside in the parking lot. 

He was rushed to St. Mary's Hospital where he was later pronounced dead a little over a half hour later. The Waterbury police chief identified the victim Thursday as Le’Chard Santos.

RELATED: Two homicides part of a deadly weekend in Waterbury

According to police, a fight broke out before the shooting outside of the restaurant, involving Santos. Police said that's when the man was shot one time. 

Police said they've identified the suspect as Joseph Whitaker, 32, of Waterbury. Police said they've obtained an arrest warrant charging Whitaker with the murder of Santos. The warrant has a $2 million bond. Investigators also found a 2012 Silver Acura TL in Southington which is believed to be operated by Whitaker.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Waterbury Police Department's Detective Bureau at 203-574-6941 or Crime Stoppers at 203-755-1234.

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Last weekend, police responded to two separate shootings that turned fatal. Both shootings were also preceded by fights outside of a restaurant-like business. 

The first shooting happened around 1:40 a.m. Saturday after a fight broke out inside Mikey's Jamaican Restaurant on East Main Street. When officers got to the scene, they found 28-year-old Waterbury resident Sebastian Olavarria playing on the ground outside with gunshot wounds. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. 

Police arrested 61-year-old Michael Anderson, the restaurant owner, and charged him with murder, reckless endangerment, and unlawful firearm discharge. He is being held on a $2 million bond. 

RELATED: Waterbury social club owner shot in parking lot

Less than 24 hours later, a fight that started inside the Salsa Tropical Social Club spilled out into the parking lot, according to police. 

Police said it was then that 44-year-old Ramon Rodriguez reportedly fired shots at people outside in the parking lot. One of the people, 51-year-old Dennis Santos, was struck and killed. Santos was the owner of the social club, police said. 

Rodriguez then left the scene but was found shortly after by officers and taken into custody. 

Rodriguez was charged with murder, first-degree reckless endangerment, unlawful discharge of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit, possession of weapons in a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence, alteration of a firearm identification mark and second-degree breach of peace. He's currently held on a $2 million bond. 

None of these shootings are related to each other and they were all targeted incidents, according to police.


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