“Person Of Interest” Surfaces In Yale Gun Hoax

Paul Bass PhotoA man who may be connected to the gunman hoax that shut down central New Haven faced a judge Monday —on an 11-year-old charge related to impaired driving.

Police arrested the 49-year-old drifter over the weekend on a violation of probation charge dating to a 2002 charge of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He also faced a misdemeanor charge dating back to a 2001 Old Saybrook arrest for breach of peace.

Judge Maureen Keegan ordered the man held on $4,500 bond for both charges. His parents, who attended the appearance Monday in the Elm Street state courthouse, said they would not be posting his bond, so the man went to the Whalley Avenue jail.

There, police have a more serious matter to speak with him about: the 911 call someone made on Nov. 25 from a phone booth in the Hill claiming his “roommate” was headed to the Yale campus to shoot it up. That call caused Yale to lock down its campus for the rest of the day, city police to block off downtown streets, and four SWAT teams from the city, Yale, and state cops and federal agents to spend the afternoon searching for suspects. It turned out to be an apparent hoax. Police said they have followed “hundreds” of leads on suspects; they have questioned several suspects, then cleared them. Now their net has apparently brought in this 49-year-old man as a possible caller.

Dressed in a flannel shirt, jeans, and socks (no shoes), the man seemed dazed as he sat in Courtroom B during protracted arraignments Monday.

He didn’t speak when he finally appeared before the judge, except for a few whispers to his public defender.

Deputy State’s Attorney Kelly Davis asked the judge to set a $10,000 bond.

“His history is very lengthy from out of state, including an attempted arson in 2006 [and] battery of a police officer in 2006,” Davis said. The man is suspected of having committed crimes in a number of states, including Louisiana.

The man’s public defender, Maggie Castinado, asked the judge to release him on a conditional promise to appear. She said the man is in fact living locally with his parents. “Although there are matters pending in other jurisdictions, he is originally a Connecticut resident,” Castinado said. “His parents are present in court today. So he does have a place to stay. He does plan on remaining here to resolve these issues.”

The man’s elderly parents—his mother and his stepfather—sat in the second row quietly watching the proceedings. Afterward, the mother (who asked to remain anonymous) said her son came north to see her a few weeks ago after working construction in Louisiana. She said he has been staying with her at her home in Westbrook.

Judge Keegan ordered the man to be held on $1,000 bond for the New Haven violation of probation case; and $3,500 bond for the Old Saybrook case, which is being heard in Middletown. Judge Keegan ordered him to reappear in court on the charge on Jan. 6.

NHPD PhotoMeanwhile, police released photos of a woman they said “may be able to provide valuable information to investigators” in the bomb hoax case. Those photos appear here. They ask anyone with information about her or the case to call detectives at (203)-946-6304. NHPD Photo


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posted by: Bill Saunders on December 9, 2013  8:12pm

Did someone let Squeaky Fromme out of the hoosegow?

posted by: Noteworthy on December 10, 2013  11:18am

Let’s be clear - the hoax caller did not cause New Haven and Yale to be militarized - the cops did and Yale did and the Feds did. It is time to bring common sense and level headed thinking back to law enforcement. Spending a lot of resources trying to find the hoaxster, and then to overcharge somebody who is clearly not in full control of themselves in order to justify the heavy handed response is to make worse what was already wrong.

posted by: RicePaddy on December 13, 2013  12:18am

No. Lets be be clear with your backwards view of how a potentially life threatening situation might have played out. Your so quick to condemn the NHPD, Federal Agencies and Yale for having a swift response to and at the time an unknown situation. I guess your trained with a keen ear to intercept hoax calls. Next time a call comes to 911, no matter the caller or their mental state the authorities should call and ask for your opinion before putting their lives on the line and putting forth an action plan. Better yet you should explain to a parent or family member why their child won’t be coming home.