Family's $500,000 reward in Hartford homicide among largest in CT history

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The family of Eros Diaz, who was shot and killed in Hartford in 2019, is offering a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

The family of Eros Diaz, who was shot and killed in Hartford in 2019, is offering a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Courtesy of John Kennelly

HARTFORD — The family of a man who was shot and killed in Hartford three and a half years ago is offering what may be one of the largest rewards ever in a Connecticut criminal case for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Relatives of Eros Diaz pooled the $500,000 reward from their various businesses, Hartford attorney John Kennelly said Wednesday. Kennelly is brokering tips on the case for the family and relaying information to the state's attorney's office. 

Diaz was 24 when he was gunned down at Winship and Gilman streets on June 22, 2019. Another man who was with him was wounded in the shooting. No one has been arrested, but Hartford police spokesperson Lt. Aaron Boisvert said Wednesday that police continue to investigate.

The family has boosted the reward from $15,000 to $30,000 to $100,000, and to $500,000 on Jan. 11, which would have been Diaz's 28th birthday. Kennelly said the reward is the highest he has ever heard of in a Connecticut criminal case. He said Diaz's loved ones are committed to finding his killer or killers and hope the large reward will encourage witnesses to come forward.

“This horrendous crime occurred in broad daylight, and we know people can identify the murderer(s). Hopefully, this new reward will convince them to step up and do the right thing,” Diaz’s mother, Katherine Diaz, said in a statement.

Eros Diaz had been in trouble with the law. He was sentenced to 45 months in prison in 2016 after a federal conviction for distributing crack cocaine, heroin and fentanyl, Kennelly confirmed. But he said the shooting "had nothing to do with [Diaz's] unfortunate past."

"Eros had left that life behind," Kennelly said. "This incident was just basically a tragic occurrence involving gun violence on the streets of Hartford."

Diaz was a father of two who grew up in Hartford, Rocky Hill and Avon, where he graduated from Avon High School. At the time of his death, he was a managing partner with his father of Neways Inc., according to his obituary.

Kennelly would not say if many tips have come in since the $500,000 reward was announced. He said he is the only person who can access responses on the tip line, and added that "the process has to be beyond reproach." People who offer tips that lead to the arrest and conviction of the shooter or shooters will be eligible for the reward, he said. Retired Connecticut Judge Robert Killian has agreed to distribute the money when the time comes, Kennelly said.

Kennelly said he is modeling the reward procedure on the case of Christopher Dorner, a former Los Angeles police officer who killed four people, including two LA cops, in 2013 before killing himself. Donors had put up $1 million for information leading to Dorner's arrest and conviction, but a city official said later that only $886,000 was paid out because some donors felt criteria for the reward — Dorner's conviction — had not been satisfied.

A check of news archives in Connecticut showed the only other $500,000 reward related to a criminal case was for information on Victor Gerena, who is wanted by the FBI for the $7 million robbery of the Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford in 1983. Gerena, who was recruited by a violent group advocating Puerto Rican independence, is believed to be in Cuba. U.S. officials have been calling for his extradition.

The tip line for anyone with information on the homicide is 860-719-5534.