In His Brothers Memory A Fighter Is Reborn

By Tiffany Williams –

On July 9th I was woken up at about 4:13 a.m. by a phone call from Eryk Castro with the Major Crimes Section at Crime Trackers. Before I could even say hello, Eryk said that there was a Shot Spotter activation in New Haven and they needed everyone from the Shooting Response Team to respond.

Crime Trackers had been paying particular attention to all shot spotter activations in New Haven because since January there were 16 homicides in New Haven. Alfreda Youmans, Jeffrey Dotson, Jorge Osorio-Caballero, Marquis Winfrey, Joseph Vincent Mattei, Kevin Jiang, Angel Rodriguez,  Dwaneia Alexandria Turner, Alessia Mesquita, Mariyah Inthirath, Hopeton Jack, Tashawn Brown, Adrian Barwise, Miguel Ramos, Richard Whitaker Jr. and Ciera Jones.

Tyson Grimes and I met up at the Crime Trackers office in Worcester, we geared up and we were on scene at Lombard Street in New Haven at approximately 6:30 a.m.

When we arrived on scene we met up with Eryk and folks from Crime Trackers Connecticut office. We were given what notes they had thus far and we began working the area, knocking on doors and speaking with people as well as talking with our contacts in the New Haven Police Department.

The Shot Spotter activation was at about 4:10 a.m. and soon after 911 dispatchers received multiple calls for a person shot. When the first responding officers arrived on scene they had located Kevan Bonilla, 20, of Bridgeport, Connecticut shot multiple times.

Kevan was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries and had become the City of New Haven’s 17th homicide.

While I was sitting at the New Haven Police Department and going through my notes, I had received a call from an old friend who was a cop in Bridgeport. He said that he had heard I was covering the Bonilla homicide and then asked if I had remembered who he was. After taking a second look at the photo of Kevan I had in the file, that’s when it hit me. I told my friend that we were headed to Bridgeport to meet with him.

Kevan Bonilla was a well known boxer out of Bridgeport and as well as his brother Oscar Bonilla. You couldn’t be from Bridgeport and not know who these two brothers were. Kevan was 7-2-0 and Oscar was 6-3-2. I had been to several of Kevan’s fights and I liked how great a fighter that he was.

Fast forward to November 17 and I’m at Drafters for the Rivera Promotions Entertainment press conference for New Englands Future 8. One of the fighters that my colleagues and I from Worcester Sports Journal interviewed was Oscar Bonilla. The last time that he was in the ring was 2019 against Julio Perez at Foxwoods. He had take two years off from fighting and some folks were doubtful about him ever returning to boxing.

When he sat down too do the interview at Drafters he hadn’t the slightest idea who I was but I knew him and when he mentioned his brother all I could think about was that day in July being there at the scene and covering his brothers homicide.

Fast forward to fight night, last night at Webster Town Hall. Oscar was standing their behind us on the stage and was watching one of the fights. I walked up next to him and asked him how he was doing. I had to think what would Kevan say to Oscar at that moment and the remember Kevan was a young man who always had a winners mindset. So told Oscar it’s a mindset thing and then I just walked back over to our table that we were broadcasting from.

When Oscar came out to fight you could look at him and see he had the right mindset to go in that ring and win and that’s what he did.

Some will say that Kevan was looking over Oscar in last night’s fight and don’t doubt that but I like to think he won last night because he had that same winner mindset that his brother always had.

I would also like to think and hope that the fighter in Oscar has been reborn in his brothers memory. That this hopefully this is not a one-off fight but the rebirth of a great fighter.

Categories: Boxing, Sports, Uncategorized

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