MANCHESTER - Detectives are eager to speak with the 20-year-old man who was shot in the face in his Orange Street doorway Friday morning, but they're waiting for doctors to give the OK.
Detective Sgt. Joseph Mucci said Terrence Jackson has been on a breathing tube since undergoing surgery following the shooting, and that has prevented police from interviewing him about the attack.
He said talking to Jackson is key to solving the crime.
"Not only is he a victim, but he's a witness in this case," Mucci said. "He can tell us who in fact did this to him, if in fact he does know, or give us a better description on who the suspect is."
A nursing supervisor at Elliot Hospital said Jackson was in fair condition on Saturday.
Jackson was shot shortly before 6:30 a.m. Friday at 145 Orange St. and managed to stumble outside before he collapsed, bleeding, according to witnesses.
Neighbors said the area has been plagued with illicit drug activity and street fights.
One upstairs neighbor said she heard the sounds of men arguing on Wednesday, and it sounded like someone was threatening Jackson.
The woman, Valerie Fontaine, said she feels like she lives "at the corner of hell town and murder city."
Mucci said criminal activity has increased in that area of the city. He noted it's just a few blocks from the scene of a May 18 homicide that remains unsolved.
Mark Donnelly, 31, was shot to death at the corner of Pine and Prospect streets after a confrontation with a man in a car.
"It is a tough neighborhood," Mucci said.
And while police have increased their presence in the area, Mucci said they need the public's help. "Neighbors need to be vigilant and call us when they see anything they feel is suspicious," he said.
With the shooter still at large, Mucci said residents should exercise caution. "If anyone that they don't know comes to their door, I wouldn't open the door, and I would call us directly or call 911," he said.
And if anyone can shed light on Friday's shooting, Mucci asked them to call detectives at 668-8711, or the anonymous Manchester Crimeline at 624-4040.
Mucci said he can't comment on whether drugs may have been a factor in what happened on Friday because the investigation remains ongoing.
But he said a lot of the violent crime in the city lately is tied to illegal drug activity.
Manchester has changed, Mucci said.
"It's not a small town anymore," he said. "It's the largest city north of Boston. We have big-city crime now."