Ten guns disappeared from a late NRA instructor’s safe. A year later, one of those guns reemerged inside the sleeve of a sweatshirted man running down a downtown alley away from Tom Glynn and Matt Williams.
Glynn and Williams, two New Haven patrol cops, ended up in the alley while working extra-duty on another crazy weekend night in the downtown club district.
Glynn found himself in a second night-time foot chase a week later, near a Beaver Hills graveyard—and recovered a loaded illegal gun then, too.
While he does jog a mile or so a few times a week, Glynn doesn’t consider himself a standout runner. Having the right footwear gave him an edge in one of the chases.
In both cases, the officers may have stopped someone from getting shot. In the case of the downtown chase, they prevented what could have been an all-too-predictable ending to the story of how guns end up on New Haven streets.
That story began in November 2012, when someone broke into a safe inside the Edgewood Avenue apartment of one Eugene Kenny.
Kenny was a licensed NRA instructor and thoughtful, outspoken Second Amendment advocate. He told police that someone made off with a safe that contained 10 guns—mostly handguns, plus a Saiga 12 rifle. (Some time later he accidentally shot himself in the foot with a different gun; he later died from complications related to that injury. Click on the play arrow to watch him discuss the incident.)
Police never solved the burglary, which showed no sign of forced entry. They’ve wanted to know what happened to the guns—since stolen guns often make their way back to the street, and are used in violent, sometimes deadly assaults.
That’s what could have happened early on Sunday, Dec. 29, if Glynn and Williams hadn’t been on the job.
Police got a report around 1 a.m. that a shooting may have occurred outside the Lazy Lizard on Crown Street. It was shaping up to be another frantic weekend in the entertainment district.
Officers arrived to find hundreds of people fleeing the club in panic. It turned out that broken glass, not a gunshot, set off the panic.
But fights were starting, as usual amid the closing hours of the bar district on weekend nights.
Glynn and Williams were working as a team that night on extra duty. Usually Glynn—the grandson of a cop, who’s 25 and a year out of the academy—walks a beat in Beaver Hills. Williams—stepson of a state trooper, who’s 30—regularly patrols Dixwell, where he has earned a reputation as a proactive problem-solver as well as a trusted field training officer for rookies, according to his boss, Sgt. Sam Brown.
Glynn and Williams said they saw a tall man in a black hooded sweatshirt “make a motion” with his hand on his chest as the fight was about to start on Crown Street. As the crowd dispersed, the man headed down Crown toward College. The two officers decided to follow him. “You kind of pick up on it, from working the street,” when certain arm motions signal the possibility of a person reaching for a gun, Williams said.
At first, the man kept his pace to a brisk walk. Mid-block, he crossed onto an alley connecting Crown to George. The officers followed. The man picked up his speed, then disappeared.
Without needing to exchange words, the officers decided instantly to start running after the man.
They found him in the middle of George Street. No cars were in the road at the time.
“Hey!” the officers called out. The man stopped.
“Show us your hands!” the cops shouted.
The officers approached him; he didn’t resist. Williams grabbed his left arm; Glynn grabbed his right. As they put the man’s arms behind him and took him to the ground, Glynn felt a hard object in the man’s sleeve.
“Matt, gun in his sleeve!” Glynn called out as he removed it and completed handcuffing the suspect.
The weapon turned out to be a semi-automatic Glock 21, .45-caliber handgun outfitted with a laser attachment. It was fully loaded, with a bullet in the chamber—ready to be fired.
The arrested man, who is 20 years old and lives in the Hill neighborhood, did not have a permit to own the pistol. He was charged with illegal gun possession. A records search showed that the Glock was registered to Eugene Kenny.
So far, detectives have not established a tie between the arrested suspect and the late Kenny, according to Lt. Al Vazquez. Often stolen guns get resold on the street, he said.
Vazquez said none of Kenny’s other stolen guns have turned up. Yet.
As Williams and Glynn attended to the arrest on George Street, other officers were sent to another call of a possible shooting, at Club X (formerly known as Center Street Lounge), where a hip-hop party was letting out. This time a gunman did fire a round, hitting a 24-year-old man and sending him to the hospital.
Footprints In The Snow
Officer Williams had recovered other stolen guns after foot chases in his five years as a New Haven cop. For Officer Glynn, the episode in the bar district was his first such arrest and recovery. He felt proud of it.
Back in Beaver Hills, Glynn’s usual patrol partner, Matt Collier (who graduated from the police academy along with Glynn in December 2012), was disappointed he missed out on the incident that night.
He’d get his own chance, along with Glynn, the following Saturday night, Jan. 4.
It was a frigid night. Few people were on the street. Glynn and Collier patrolled by car that evening, not, as they usually do, on foot.
Nothing much was happening until shortly after 7:35 p.m., when Collier pulled the cruiser to a stop sign on Osborne Street at the intersection of Blake, across the street from a series of cemeteries.
They saw a young man on a bike run the stop sign at the eastern Blake Street corner of the intersection. A minivan was passing through the intersection at the moment; the minivan driver slammed on the brake, narrowly avoiding a crash.
The cyclist zoomed past westbound on Blake. Collier pulled the cruiser behind him and activated the flashing lights.
“He’s going to stop, and we’re going to talk to him” about how he ran the stop sign, Glynn remembered thinking.
Instead of stopping, the cyclist did a quick U-turn. Then he ditched the bike and took off on foot, running back toward Osborn.
Glynn hopped out of the car and ran after him.
Treacherous black ice covered the street. The fleeing man slipped and fell. He got back up, ran behind a house on Osborn.
As he ran, he repeatedly “reached into his waistband,” Glynn said. An action that often suggests a suspect is armed.
Glynn almost lost his footing, too, but remained standing, and running. “It was all ice,” he said. Fortunately he had on his black SWAT-style boots, which have good traction. The fleeing suspect wore sneakers.
The suspect emerged from the back of the house, still running. He ran into the street—and slipped again. Glynn was right there.
Collier had arrived on the scene with the cruiser. He and Glynn handcuffed the man. Then Collier followed the suspect’s footsteps in the snow back behind the house—where he found a Smith & Wesson 9-millimeter handgun. That gun, too, was loaded. It turned out to be stolen. The officers charged the man, who is 19 and lives in the Hill, with carrying a pistol without a permit, firearm theft, and third-degree trespassing.
Two chases and gun recoveries in eight days—“it was exciting,” allowed Glynn. He felt he was helping to keep New Haven safer. Looking back, he said he didn’t feel scared during the two chases. He didn’t have time to. “Everything happens so fast,” he said, “it’s instinct.”
Read other installments in the Independent’s “Cop of the Week” series:
• Shafiq Abdussabur
• Craig Alston & Billy White Jr.
• James Baker
• Lloyd Barrett
• Manmeet Bhagtana (Colon)
• Paul Bicki
• Paul Bicki (2)
• Sheree Biros
• Brendan Borer & Michael Haines
• Scott Branfuhr
• Dennis Burgh
• Anthony Campbell
• Rob Clark & Joe Roberts
• Sydney Collier
• Carlos Conceicao
• Carlos Conceicao (2)
• Carlos Conceicao and Josh Kyle
• David Coppola
• Roy Davis
• Joe Dease
• Milton DeJesus
• Milton DeJesus (2)
• Brian Donnelly
• Anthony Duff
• Robert DuPont
• Jeremie Elliott and Scott Shumway
• Jose Escobar Sr.
• Bertram Ettienne
• Bertram Ettienne (2)
• Martin Feliciano & Lou DeCrescenzo
• Paul Finch
• Jeffrey Fletcher
• Renee Forte
• Marco Francia
• Michael Fumiatti
• William Gargone
• William Gargone & Mike Torre
• Derek Gartner
• Derek Gartner & Ryan Macuirzynski
• Jon Haddad & Daniela Rodriguez
• Dan Hartnett
• Ray Hassett
• Robert Hayden
• Robin Higgins
• Ronnell Higgins
• William Hurley & Eddie Morrone
• Racheal Inconiglios
• Juan Ingles
• Paul Kenney
• Hilda Kilpatrick
• Herb Johnson
• John Kaczor & Alex Morgillo
• Jillian Knox
• Peter Krause
• Peter Krause (2)
• Amanda Leyda
• Rob Levy
• Anthony Maio
• Dana Martin
• Steve McMorris
• Juan Monzon
• Chris Perrone
• Ron Perry
• Joe Pettola
• Diego Quintero and Elvin Rivera
• Ryan Przybylski
• Stephanie Redding
• Tony Reyes
• David Rivera
• Luis & David Rivera
• Luis Rivera (2)
• Salvador Rodriguez
• Salvador Rodriguez (2)
• Brett Runlett
• David Runlett
• Betsy Segui & Manmeet Colon
• Allen Smith
• Marcus Tavares
• Martin Tchakirides
• David Totino
• Stephan Torquati
• Gene Trotman Jr.
• Kelly Turner
• Lars Vallin (& Xander)
• Dave Vega & Rafael Ramirez
• Earl Reed
• John Velleca
• Manuella Vensel
• Holly Wasilewski
• Holly Wasilewski (2)
• Alan Wenk
• Stephanija VanWilgen
• Elizabeth White & Allyn Wright
• Matt Williams
• Michael Wuchek
• Michael Wuchek (2)
• David Zannelli
• David Zaweski