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Affidavit: Club “Stares” Sparked Shootout; Static’s Business Drops 80% Amid Crackdown

by Thomas MacMillan | Sep 27, 2010 4:53 pm

(24) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Legal Writes, Downtown

Paul Bass File PhotoTwo 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.

The shootout prompted a public outcry about safety in downtown’s Crown Street club district, which led to a police crackdown this past weekend.

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:

Thomas MacMillan PhotoOn 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.

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posted by: DKR on September 27, 2010  5:20pm

perhaps if we were able to do aggressive proactive policing, (like chief lewis) allowed us to do,..then maybe,..just maybe,...this incident would have never happened…..but then again,..that’s the whole basis behind good aggressive proactive policing and not the hold your hand, pass the blame/responsibility type of policing we are trapped in today

posted by: anon on September 27, 2010  5:37pm

Static nightclub…close it down!!

posted by: The Professor on September 27, 2010  6:06pm

Wow, DKR, what an insightful comment!  How is it that none of us realized that there was no violent crime in New Haven under Chief Lewis? 

Seriously, this incident has very little to do with a lack of “aggressive and proactive” policing and everything to do with too many morons having guns and too few nightclub owners caring about it. 

Someone should lobby the state legislature to allow people who are injured in shootings like this to sue nightclub owners if there is strong evidence that the dispute began at a nightclub and the nightclub didn’t do anything to prevent the situation from escalating.  Maybe then the nightclub owners would start to take some legitimate safety precautions.

posted by: Beansie's Mom on September 27, 2010  6:12pm

DKR

I’m tired of hearing about the glory days of Chief Lewis.  NHPD is basically the same force now as it was then.  There was crime, there was an investigation followed by arrests.  How is there now more handholding under LIMON. 

Get real.

posted by: Linda on September 27, 2010  7:06pm

Congratulations to officer cacela!  Glad to hear something good and not negative from class1509!

Stay safe

posted by: sam on September 27, 2010  7:14pm

I say ryan full of it. They would of never entered the club with guns if you ask methey weren’t in the club.

posted by: Doyens on September 27, 2010  8:21pm

...A club like Static has a dress code? Is that for frolicking in the foam pool or so gang members can be sporting their colors, gold chains and holsters while they snarl at each other? These clubs need to be shut down. They are magnets for trouble. In the meantime, perhaps gang members should be required to bring their Hug A Thug contact with them before going out on the weekend.

posted by: Mon-ja on September 27, 2010  8:33pm

My sons used to work and hang at most of the new haven clubs several years ago. During that time mostly suburban kids were going to the clubs and there was none of this crap going on then. Today you have these punks who are like termites eating away at the foundation of this city.

posted by: louis on September 27, 2010  8:37pm

DKR: Who told you to stop aggressively policing? It sounds like some aggressive policing went into arresting these shooters, and it also looks like there is some aggressive policing happening downtown in the wake of the shootout. keep aggressively policing. Please.

posted by: streever on September 28, 2010  8:37am

The idiocy and posturing depicted in this article is astounding. I truly hope these young men realize that “gang banger” is not a good life style and get their act together.

Nice work NHPD—a quick close to this case!

DKR: Do you know if they’ve stopped doing the increased traffic enforcement (which resulted in TONS of illegal guns recovered)?

Folks, before you bandwagon against DKR because of the way he phrased his comments (I know, incendiary), I do think it is worth noting that the NHPD hasn’t released any figures on their traffic enforcement since what, last November?

The NHPD stepped up ticketing dramatically and had a huge increase in illegal weapons recovered. We also saw a big decrease in violent crime as the number of traffic stops increased.

The policy works here—it has worked all over the country for that matter.

While I think Limon & the officers are doing great detective work in catching these guys, imagine if they “Caught” them speeding an hour before and shots were never fired because they recovered the guns they used?

Obviously hindsight is 20/20, but I think the NHPD should release their numbers on traffic citations issued in the last year vs the year before.

posted by: davec on September 28, 2010  9:14am

Maybe if the mayor hadn’t shut down Newt’s, Cardinal’s and the like the troublemakers would still be uptown, not downtown.  Just sayin’.

posted by: Gene Debs on September 28, 2010  9:19am

Streever: increased mv enforcement requires a certain level of morale.  It wasn’t a problem under Lewis.  Frankly I don’t see anything like that happening under Limon.

posted by: Downtown/Wooster Square Resident on September 28, 2010  10:46am

A small point, not directly related:  What kind of message are we sending when a club, in this case Static, allows 18-20 year old women in, but not men of the same age.  It is clear what Static is trying to accomplish.  ...
Police and Liquor Control have the power to correct the problems plaguing this city…last weekend was a good start.

posted by: streever on September 28, 2010  1:15pm

Gene:
I’m a HUGE Chief Lewis fan. I thought he was the best thing that ever happened to the NHPD & our city.

With that said, I am willing to give Chief Limon a chance. If his police force can demonstrate a commitment to proactive police work—in addition to the good detective skills on display here—I will be happy.

I haven’t spoken to any officers about his administration, I’ve only read comments and 2 stories that suggest that a lot of officers are unhappy with him. I’m trying not to rush to judgement though, because I think he hasn’t been here long enough for me to have an objective view of his work.

If it is a morale issue, that’s sad to hear, and I hope things get better at the department for everyone who works there.

In the meantime though, it’d be great to see some statistics from the City & the Department on motor vehicle enforcement. Without seeing any numbers, it’s hard to know what is happening.

posted by: Drosophila on the Wall on September 28, 2010  2:47pm

Davec: how is it at all better to have people getting shot outside “Newts, Cardinals and the like”?

posted by: anon on September 28, 2010  3:08pm

Davec:  Newt’s needed to be closed down, and it finally closed.  Good riddance!!  The clubs downtown should not be trying to attract the trouble makers with foam parties, etc. Close down those clubs too.

posted by: davec on September 28, 2010  3:15pm

Drosophilia,
It’s not ok.
Just making an observation about possible cause and effect.

posted by: streever on September 28, 2010  4:04pm

I just got a note from the city—apparently, traffic stops are at the same level as last year! that is good news. Hopefully that proactive approach—coupled with more of the great response to this shooting—will put us on a decreasing trend in crime.

posted by: RKan on September 28, 2010  5:35pm

“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.”

Was the police officer’s response appropriate/safe/proper? He sees a man pull a gun and immediately pulls his own weapon and starts firing? No, “Police! Put down your weapon and put your hands in the air!”

Perhaps that isn’t effective? Maybe that would simply have caused the perpetrator to run away. Well, good. That’s better than causing him to turn and start spraying gunfire around on a crowded street.

posted by: Gene Debs on September 30, 2010  8:34am

RKan: The officer’s actions were very proper, even heroic.  Just ask what you would have done.  Run? Soil yourself?  This is real life and sometimes fractions of a second are the difference between life and death. 

posted by: Gene Debs on September 30, 2010  8:50am

Rkan: Another thing: for an action to cause another action, it must precede the action temporally.  As the subject was shooting prior to any apparent awareness of the officer’s presence, then your statement “That’s better than causing him to turn and start spraying gunfire around on a crowded street” is fallacious.  This suspect’s anger, rage, and wanton disregard for human life caused this.
Streever: I’d be suspect of that note.  I’m not saying it’s bogus (it does seem bogus on its face), but there are stops and there are stops.  For instance, there is a traffic unit that commonly stops regular people for committing routine traffic offenses.  On the other hand there are street cops who pull people over who they may suspect of foul play in troubled neighborhoods.  Alas, then the question of fairness justifiably rears its ugly head.

posted by: RKan on September 30, 2010  10:11am

Gene Debs: My statement is perfectly accurate. Read the story again:“Office Cacela drew his gun and fired at the gunman, who responded by turning and firing at him. Office (sic) Cacela exchanged fire with the gunman while retreating towards cover. The gunman ran south while firing shots north towards police officers.”

Prior to the officer’s action, the gunman was only engaged with his “adversaries.” Once the officer fired, the gunman (not to mention the policeman) started running around, indiscriminately firing shots all over the crowded downtown street.

The top priority of the police should be to ensure the safety of the public. I think it’s quite legitimate to question whether the actions of the officer were in keeping with this mandate.

posted by: Ex-NHPD on September 30, 2010  6:12pm

To: RKan:
I was not there.  You were not there.  Let’s go with what you have quoted for making your determination that the cop was wrong.  Handgun(s) were brought to a crowded downtown setting to settle old scores, yet you find fault with how the cop reacted.

“.....He saw a man with long dreadlocks and a striped shirt pull a gun out and fire it.”  So, the suspect was already firing a handgun, with people all over the place.  And you want the cop to tell him to drop his gun and put his hands up.

...

The great majority of cops go an entire career only having to fire their weapons during training/qualification.  This rookie cop faced an armed subject, who had no problem shooting his adversaries, with scores of completely innocent people around.  It is absurd to try to shift the onus in this violent criminal act to a cop who did his job. 

How about the NHI do a little investigative reporting and tell us about all the players in this incident?  I think you would find that they were not virgins to violent crime in New Haven.

posted by: Little Messy on October 14, 2010  12:34pm

What do you expect from a club call “Static”
and patrons with names like “Little Messy”
...

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