ENFIELD — Police are investigating the homicide of a homeless man whose body was found early Wednesday in a gazebo on the town green.
He was identified Wednesday afternoon as Christopher Kennedy, 56, Capt. Steven Kaselouskas said.
Police Chief Alaric Fox said the man’s body was found shortly before 2:40 a.m. in the gazebo at 820 Enfield St., or Route 5. Neither he nor Kaselouskas elaborated on how the man died.
Kaselouskas said police are waiting for the autopsy to confirm the precise cause of death. The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said an autopsy will be performed on Thursday.
Town Manager Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said the man had wounds, but she wasn’t more specific. He is believed to not have a home, she said.
Kennedy was using an electrical outlet in the gazebo to power up a cellphone at the time he was killed, Zoppo-Sassu said. The person who reported the discovery of the body to police had been planning to use the outlet as well and apparently also does not have a home, she said.
Asked how she felt when she heard the news, she said, “I went between the feeling of sadness because the person is someone’s son, sibling, friend, and all of those things resonate with me because of the failures of the system in trying to get people help. And then I bounced to, how do we prepare employees who are coming to work, walking into a crime scene?”
Some employees work closely with members of the homeless community, Zoppo-Sassu said, and the town has offered counseling to its workers.
“We do have relationships with a majority of the members of our homeless community who traverse this area, who avail themselves of the amenities that are in this area, who use some of the social services, so they are not faceless people to us,” she said.
Zoppo-Sassu said people in the community have been passing information to police, who are making progress on the case.
“We are very confident in our police department as well as with the assist from the state that there is going to be a resolution on this soon,” Zoppo-Sassu said. Major Crime detectives with the Connecticut State Police helped Enfield police with the case by collecting evidence and documenting the scene.
At lunchtime, about a half-dozen detectives were in the gazebo, continuing to work. Crime scene tape stretched across the town green. Representatives of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office removed the body at 12:30 p.m.
Enfield hasn’t had any other homicides this year, Zoppo-Sassu said.
Lt. Bryan Nolan said he is not aware of any complaints about loitering or drug use in the area.
The crime definitely is “not typical,” he said.
The green’s expansive lawn is more likely to have families with children on it than crime scene tape. Many public events are regularly held there, including farmer’s markets, last week’s National Night Out, a Taste of Enfield and Family Day, which is planned for Sept. 18.
Lewis Fiore, the town’s Democratic registrar of voters, said he and three other staff members left town hall next to the gazebo at 11 p.m. Tuesday after they were finished working on the primary election. No one noticed anything amiss, he said.
“It’s a shame,” Fiore said. “It’s a shame that this happened. This is a highly patrolled area. We have a police substation next-door.”
Police cleared the scene by mid-Wednesday afternoon. However, the gazebo remained closed as the town cleans up the scene.
Anyone who may have witnessed the incident, has video surveillance footage of the area or has information about the homicide can call the Enfield Police Department’s detective division at 860-763-8930.
Staff writer Liz Hardaway contributed to this story.