Officers Duck Bullets

Cops went to serve a warrant in the wee hours Sunday morning—and ended up dodging gunshots.

The incident occurred at the Presidential Gardens apartment complex on Dixwell Avenue.

Here’s what happened, according to people familiar with the incident:

Around 3 a.m. officers arrived in force at the complex. They included members of the SWAT team, the criminal intelligence unit, the major crimes division, and the shooting task force. They had a search and seizure warrant for one of the apartments; a young man who lives there was wanted on gun and drug charges.

As two of the SWAT members hit the apartment door, other cops took positions in the complex’s inner courtyard. They were watching 10-12 young men believed to have some connection to the target of the raid.

Suddenly shots rang out. They were not aimed at the two SWAT members at the door. They instead came close to some of of the officers elsewhere in the courtyard. Five or six shots in all were believed to have been fired.

No officers were struck.

Police saw one person with a rifle and one with a handgun. Those two gunmen fled. One dropped the rifle right away; the other eventually dropped the handgun.

The two men escaped. The target of the raid was not found either.

Cops then spent hours searching the complex. They recorded the rifle, an assault rifle; and the handgun, a semi-automatic “with an extended magazine,” according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman.

Police did not immediately know early Sunday who shot at them. They also were not sure if the shots were intended to warn the targets or hit them.

The apartment is question has been the subject of years of dispute. The family who lives there is in the process of being evicted and has about 60 days left to vacate.

Presidential Gardens, managed by Renaissance Management, which is run by Matthew Harp, has been a target of drug investigations and the site of shootings for a couple of years. Click here and here for past stories; and here (near the bottom of the story) about an account of how legal aid and Presidential Gardens management clashed over efforts to deal with an alleged drug-dealing tenant in the same apartment that was raided early Sunday.

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posted by: Anderson Scooper on June 1, 2014  6:06pm

I still question how the NHI can omit the fact that Mayor Harp’s family owns this property.

posted by: robn on June 2, 2014  8:08am

Yet HUD’s rating of the property is above average which means for the privilege of having gangsters living all around, a tenant only has to pay $22 while the owner collects another $1000 from taxpayers and while cops get shot at.


posted by: Atticus Shrugged on June 2, 2014  10:35am

@Anderson and @robn, the owner of the building is immaterial.  As you’ll note, it was not the building’s owner who at the police.  Moreover, as noted above - the residents of the apartment in question have been given less than 60 days to vacate pursuant to an eviction.  It would appear that by going through the eviction process, Renaissance has done what it can to kick out the “gangsters.”

With regards to the Harp name, it is irrelevant.  Unless Mr. Bass and his editorial staff “always and without exception” place the name of a building owner for publication, there is no reason to do it now.  The owners have not been accused of any wrong doing.

I look forward to your zealous pursuit of the public prosecution of every land owner in New Haven who’s tenants commit a wrong.  You’ll have plenty to type about.

posted by: Shaggybob on June 2, 2014  11:29am

“Around 3 a.m. officers arrived in force at the complex. They included members of the SWAT team, the criminal intelligence unit, the major crimes division, and the shooting task force.”

Your telling me that we shut down an entire city for an “alleged” gunman at Yale, but when thugs actually shoot at officers during a raid we can’t find them ????

No wonder the State of the City is the way it is, think what the NYPD would have done.

@ Atticus- did you read the back ground stories linked in the article? Responsible Management Companies don’t let drug dealers move in IF they do complete background checks, unless they can keep collecting those fat, tax payer funded, Section 8 checks.

Editor-Are we missing a part of the story ? The perps really just got away with all those officers present?

posted by: Anderson Scooper on June 2, 2014  11:48am

@ ShaggyBob—I don’t think you’re being fair here, as I’m quite sure that Renaissance does criminal background checks as part of their tenant screening process.

Keeping bad guys out isn’t nearly so simple as you might believe. Here’s a question, what you do you do when an Aunt allows her wayward nephew to stay at her apartment when he has nowhere else to go? Do you evict the aunt for looking after her family member? And of course those kinds of evictions aren’t quick nor easy.

Or drug dealers just move into an apartment occupied by a drug user/junkie, often via free drugs, or implicit threats? How do you stop that? This is still a free country, and the police have no means of stopping someone from having overnight guests.

Plus, how does anyone know for sure, short of a conviction, who is and isn’t dealing drugs?

Anyway, I’m certain Renaissance is better than most at handling this type of thing. But I do believe the landlords should be mentioned as part of the story. And in this case it’s particularly interesting to know that this is a Harp property.


posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on June 2, 2014  12:07pm

Why are the Section 8 units at Presidential Gardens more expensive than fair market value apartments? Renaissance Management must be making a killing (appropriate pun) off these units through the Section 8 program. It’s easy to find cheaper apartments in Whitneyville, Centerville, Orange, Woodbridge, and all the shoreline towns.

But really, does it make sense to subsidize apartments that are more expensive than market value units? The government would save a lot of money if those vouchers were used on less expensive units, which again can be found all over Greater New Haven.

posted by: robn on June 2, 2014  12:38pm


Rules for guests are common in leases; a landlord may limit the number of guests and how long they can stay.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on June 2, 2014  1:02pm

@ Robn—

There is theory, and then there is reality.

Outside of setting up spy cameras, try actually enforcing what you are talking about!

Yes, occupant limits are somewhat enforceable, but those are not straightforward eviction cases.

posted by: robn on June 2, 2014  1:36pm


Section 8 vouchers are the great reward we hand out to out-of-town slumlords in return for them meeting HUDs woefully low standards. They have no interest in upkeep other than the federal minimum (which is pretty minimal) because in their financial best interest to run down the property; to keep their taxes low. The system as it is, greatly rewards bad behavior.

posted by: Shaggybob on June 2, 2014  3:57pm

Back @ scooper

I’m confused- why would mention the omission of the Landlord/owner (who, BTW, owe’s quite a bit in back taxes) to be of concern to you, yet you are so quick to defend them.

“I’m quite sure” and “I’m certain” are not exactly proof of a good screening process.

However, you do speak like a true landlord with experience and make some very valid arguments.

My point was that good management is on top of what is happening at their properties and yes as much as they can’t control every situation, (had the Aunt- Nephew situation happen to a unit I was renting-took months to rectify) and they can’t see through walls, or perdict what a tenant may or may not do BUT they can more diligent in making the “bar” a bit higher for applicants.
I stand by my Section 8 comment.

Trying isn’t doing.

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on June 3, 2014  9:46am


Either (i) there are a TON of bad landlords in New Haven or (ii) it ain’t that easy to screen for and evict drug dealers.  I’m going to go with the latter.  New Haven does have quite the illicit drug trade and it is wide spread.  But I won’t let facts get in the way of your argument.  Ya know, like the FACT that was reported that the tenant in dispute has been EVICTED by the same management company you look down upon.

Forgetting facts makes it easier to argue a moot point.  I don’t expect you to love, like, or care for Renaissance.  But if you’re going to make an argument, I do ask that you use facts.  It’s really not that hard.  It just doesn’t help your narrative.

Now, I do ask that you go and find every landlord who has drug dealers on their property, point them out, and assail their ability to do their job.  It’s a very long list.  I’m sure that Paul Bass knows a few and can give you a lead.  Cheers!