Almost one year after the murder of Shelton teenager Kristjan Ndoj in a Pine Rock Park driveway, the police investigation into the crime continues.
No one has ever been charged for the killing of Kristjan, a Shelton High School sophomore and Albanian immigrant who was known for his friendliness and love of soccer.
The State Police’s Major Crimes Unit is handling the ongoing investigation.
“The case is still active — still moving forward,” State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance, the law enforcement agency’s spokesman, said earlier this week.
“We’re obviously looking for any assistance anyone might be able to provide as far as information is concerned, if it would be helpful in moving the investigation to the next level,” he said.
‘We have made some progress’
Vance said some insight into what happened has been gained through the continuing police efforts.
“We have made some progress but we have not reached the level we’d like to be at this time,” he said.
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State offers $50,000 reward for information in the case; details below:
“I’d encourage anyone who may have information who wants to talk to detectives to do so,” Vance said. “It would be done in the utmost of secrecy and it would help us in moving this case forward.”
Teen was found in driveway
Kristjan, 15, was found shot twice at slightly before 9 p.m. on March 15, 2014, while in a driveway on Agawam Trail, a road in the city’s Pine Rock neighborhood.
He had been shot in the head and leg. He died from his injuries five days later, on March 20, at Bridgeport Hospital.
Police have said Kristjan and a friend rode their bicycles to meet with friends at the location.
The teenager had apparently gone to the Agawam Trail residence to help another immigrant family, according to remarks made during a eulogy at his funeral.
Police have said they believe the shots were likely fired from a nearby wooded area.
Wooded area near river
Pine Rock is an area traversed by narrow, curvy and hilly roads, off lower Route 110 (River Road). Agawam Trail is adjacent to a wooded buffer area for the Far Mill River, which forms the border between Shelton and Stratford in that vicinity.
Early on in the investigation, the Shelton police began receiving assistance from the state police, state Environmental Conservation police officers, and nearby police departments.
The State Police took over the investigation because of their expertise and experience in handling such serious crimes.
‘Kindness and goodness’
Hundreds of people gathered to remember Kristjan during his funeral at St. Joseph’s Church last March 27. “We have such a broken heart,” Monsignor Christopher Walsh told mourners.
“It was Kristjan’s kindness and goodness that should be the thing we celebrate today,” Walsh said.
Others also remembered the teen as a smart, friendly and kind person who excelled at athletics.
“He made everyone he encountered feel like a friend,” said Beth Smith, Shelton High School headmaster.
“A bright boy, and naturally gifted athlete, who seemed wise beyond his years, [he] will be remembered by all who knew him for the sparkle in his bright green eyes,” attorney Michael S. Boynton, a spokesman for the Ndoj family, said in the days after Kristjan’s passing.
The Ndoj family described Kristjan as “an enthusiastic student” and “a friendly, good-hearted, caring soul that enjoyed playing soccer.”
Jim Ferris, a youth soccer coach, called Kristjan a “smart,” “respectful kid” and “a great soccer player [and] teammate. … There are so many good things to say about him.”
Ndoj’s family had come to the United States from Albania in 2008, a decade after Kristjan was born in the poor Eastern European nation.
He is survived by his mother and father, Rudina Gjoka and Fran Ndoj; brother Elvis, a Shelton High senior when his brother died; grandmother Franga Ndoj; and other family members.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the community came together to support the family, with an online fund-raising effort generating more than $26,000. A local radio station also raised funds for the family.
Much support came from the Albanian immigrant community, which is substantial throughout the Naugatuck Valley, as well as the youth soccer community.