Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Shooting shocks Norwich victim's parents
Couple say son a good boy.

Norwich Bulletin
Posted Sep 06, 2009 @ 11:32 PM


Norwich, Conn. — .Manuel and Diolinda Canuto knew their son, Elson, went out at night. They didn’t know where he went, but they said he was a good boy. They never thought he’d get shot.

On Saturday, Elson Canuto, 19, was shot several times with a handgun at close range during a private party at a home on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation. His condition was upgraded from critical to guarded at Hartford Hospital on Sunday, after two surgeries. Manuel Canuto said Elson was shot in the abdomen and the arm.

“He goes out like every teenager does. He does things like every teenager does,” Manuel Canuto said. But he said his son earned good marks in school, worked and was a good boy.

Diolinda said it’s awful to see her son in a hospital bed, and worse to think someone hurt him on purpose.

“It hurts. But there’s nothing you can do. You have to hold on and pray, and wait for the day he stands up. ...” she said.

Elson Canuto graduated from Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School last year, and learned how to be a plumber. As a boy, he played basketball and learned karate. The family has lived in Norwich for 29 years and moved here from Cape Verde. They did not want their street address or their son’s photo published.

After he graduated, Elson Canuto worked for two cousins with plumbing businesses, and some for his father. Work had been slow lately, and he had been living at home.

Party on reservation

He went out as teenagers do, though his parents didn’t know where he was the night he was shot. Police said he was attending a party at 3 Ann Wampey Drive on the reservation, and was approached outside by a man who shot him. The shooter immediately fled. No arrests had been made as of Sunday evening.

Police said they found a large party going on at the house when they arrived, and several friends of Canuto had already taken him by car to The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, where he was transferred to Hartford.

Diolinda Canuto said their older son, who is 26, called them at about 12:30 or 1 a.m. and told them Elson had been shot and was at Backus. By the time she got to the hospital, her son was already on his way to Hartford.

“It was awful. It was awful. I didn’t know what to do,” Diolinda Canuto said.

They saw him later Saturday and Sunday morning. Diolinda Canuto said she can sit at his bedside for about two seconds, then starts crying.

“It’s not easy to see your kid lay in the bed like that,” she said.

Manuel Canuto said he’s grateful to the people who drove Elson to Backus, though he believes they should have called an ambulance. Now he just wants them to come forward, because they must know something.

“I want police to do their job, and I want justice to be done,” he said. “Because this is a nice country.”

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