Man arrested for teen’s shooting death

WATERBURY, CT – Police in Waterbury have taken a 20-year-old man into custody in relation to a fatal shooting that happened over the weekend, ending an 18-year-old’s life. The report of a gunshot victim arriving at Saint Mary’s Hospital’s emergency room triggered the police response around 7:30 p.m. on November 18. The victim, identified as Joseph Zavala from Waterbury, was severely injured and in a critical state after being shot. His condition worsened over the next two days, finally succumbing to his injuries.

Based on their preliminary investigation, the police located the site of the shooting in the vicinity of North Main Street and Kingsbury Street. Through further investigation, the police were able to obtain an arrest warrant for Duane Mercer, age 20. On Thanksgiving, the authorities successfully apprehended Mercer.

Now in custody, Mercer is facing a hefty $2 million dollar bond. His charges include murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and reckless endangerment, among others.

The investigation also revealed Mercer’s strong affiliation with a local gang. In what appears to be a case of gang rivalry, Zavala was believed to be part of an opposing gang, and had himself had several run-ins with law enforcement. At the time of his murder, Zavala was required to stand trial for multiple charges, including criminal mischief, reckless driving, threatening, and evading responsibility, police sources said.

Following his arraignment on Friday, Mercer is required to post 30% of his $2 million bond for release. Mercer had already been under legal scrutiny earlier this year when he was arrested for breaching the peace and assault, leading to his placement in the Probation’s Judicial Administrative Monitoring System.

The police department holds “very convincing evidence” pointing to Mercer’s involvement in Zavala’s murder, as shared during a recent news conference.

Officials also note the possibility of additional perpetrators and anticipate making further arrests. The investigation continues as law enforcement attempts to unveil the motive behind the fatal shooting.