Two groups of young men eyed each other menacingly all night from across the club. Once outside, the beef erupted into shouting.
“What do you wanna do?” Eric yelled, pretending to reach for a gun. Cadell and Cornell pulled out real guns—and started spraying the downtown club district with bullets.
That confrontation is spelled out in arrest warrant affidavits placed on file Monday in Connecticut Superior Court in New Haven. The documents tell the story of the shootout on Sunday Sept. 19 involving three cops and a crowd of clubgoers. The gun battle left two people in the hospital and College Street littered with shell casings early in the morning. The wounded parties were not shot by cops, police said.
Michael Andrews, owner of the club in which police say the glares were passed, disputes the story presented in the affidavits. He said the men named were never in his bar.
Police Chief Frank Limon announced Thursday the arrest of a man police say shot at New Haven officers during the incident. Police Sunday announced the arrest of another man involved in the shootout. Arrest warrant affidavits for those two men were made available in Superior Court following their arraignments Monday morning, where their bonds were set at $1 million.
The documents, prepared by Sgt. Otoniel Reyes, shed light on the police investigation leading to the recent arrests, and paint a picture of what came before the blazing guns. According to the files, it started when rival groups of young men spotted each other at Static, a nightclub on Crown Street. The bad blood boiled over into an angry confrontation once the club let out, then erupted into gunfire, the reports say.
That picture was painted by a 26-year-old man whom police picked up on a violation of probation charge on Sept. 23, four days after the shootout. According to the affidavits, the man told police he had information that he wanted to share with detectives.
The affidavits state that although the two groups involved in the shootout exchanged dirty looks in Static, “no confrontations occurred” inside the club.
That was good news to the club’s owner, Andrews (pictured). He said his bar has suffered an 80 percent drop in business since Chief Limon announced that Sunday’s shootout started as a fight in the club.
“Those words have definitely hurt us,” Andrews said. “This week was probably the worst week I’ve had.”
The documents state that under-21 patrons were in Static on the night of the shooting. Andrews said that although Static was only letting in women over 19 years old and men over 21 on Sept. 18, he’s within his legal rights as the operator of an 18 and over nightclub, to let in anyone over 18 whom he wants to.
But even if he could let under-21 men in, he didn’t let in the guys who police say were involved in the shooting, Andrews said. “I can assure you those kids weren’t even in the club. They weren’t up to dress code.”
Little Messy’s Beef
Here’s what the 26-year-old witness told police in a taped statement, according to the affidavits:
On Saturday, Sept. 18, he went to Static with a group of friends who included Rameil, who was celebrating his 19th birthday, and someone he knew only as “J.” Inside the club, the witness saw some guys he knows from the Tre gang turf in the Dwight/Kensington neighborhood. One of them goes by the nickname “Little Messy.”
Little Messy and his friends were staring at the witness’s friends threateningly. The angry glares were based on past disputes not elaborated on in the report.
“No confrontations occurred inside Static Lounge,” the affidavits state.
At around 1:50 a.m., as the club was closing, the witness and his friends mingled with the crowd on the sidewalk. They were now with Rameil’s twin brother Ricky and two guys named Cadell, who’s 27, and Cornell, who’s 18. Little Messy, accompanied by a group of friends, started a verbal dispute with Ricky. Little Messy’s friend, Eric, asked him “What do you want me to do?”
The two groups walked west on Crown Street and turned left on College. As they turned the corner, another confrontation erupted. Eric reached to his waistband and simulated having a handgun. The witness didn’t see a gun, but believed Eric had one.
“What do you wanna do?” Eric shouted at Cadell, still simulating a handgun and gesturing “in a threatening manner.” A man the witness didn’t recognize tried to pull Eric’s arm down to defuse the situation. Cadell pulled out a gun and shot at Eric. Cornell did the same.
Just before the triggers were squeezed, Officer Christopher Cacela turned the corner and saw the fight brewing. He saw a man with long dreadlocks and a striped shirt pull a gun out and fire it. Office Cacela drew his gun and fired at the gunman, who responded by turning and firing at him. Office Cacela exchanged fire with the gunman while retreating towards cover. The gunman ran south while firing shots north towards police officers.
Once bullets started flying, the group scattered in all directions. Two people were hit with bullets. A 22-year-old was hit in the hand, and Eric was struck in the pelvis.
Eric ran into the nearby parking lot on College Street and collapsed. Cadell and Cornell ran south on College and into the Hill neighborhood. The witness was stopped by police, identified, and then released. He went to 35 Frank St., the twins’ home, and found Ricky, Rameil, Cadell, and Cornell there. Cadell was shaving his long dreadlocks with clippers and had a shirt wrapped around a gunshot wound to his leg. Cadell and Cornell still had the .38-caliber handguns they used in the shooting.
Two days later, on Sept. 21, Officer Sal Rodriguez came upon a man on Rosette Street in the Hill who was shirtless, “yelling erratically,” and seemed to be on drugs. It turned out to be Cadell.
Rodriguez called an ambulance and had Cadell taken away. He was admitted to Yale Psychiatric Institute for psychiatric evaluation. He didn’t tell the ambulance driver or the cop that he was nursing a gunshot wound to his left leg. The next day medical personnel discovered the infected wound and took him to the emergency room. Police file a warrant for his arrest the following day.