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The Gun-Waver Ran. The Race Was On
by Paul Bass | Oct 24, 2013 2:50 pm
Posted to: Dixwell
After cops chased him down, a 17-year-old pointed a loaded .38 special at a cop.
The cop pointed a gun back. He didn’t shoot. Nor did the 17-year-old. He surrendered instead.
The news, in the view of Police Chief Dean Esserman, is what didn’t happen in Dixwell Wednesday afternoon.
“In another city,” Esserman said, “that young man could have been shot.”
It was the second time this week the crew of cops based in the Dixwell neighborhood encountered a known criminal carrying a .38—and ended up with the the gun and the carrier in the end.
The incident with the 17-year-old began some time before 5 p.m. when Officer Robert Hayden (pictured) was patrolling on Townsend Street with a rookie cop named Corey Thomas. Hayden spotted the 17-year-old and another teen. He knew both had pending warrants, for car theft and for robbery. Hayden had stopped the 17-year-old two Sundays earlier in a separate complaint of a car break-in.
The officers stepped out of their patrol car. Hayden looked at the 17-year-old. The teen looked back. Then the teens bolted.
The 17-year-old pulled a revolver out of the sweatpants so he could run more easily.
Hayden told Thomas to return to the patrol car and follow as he chased after the teens on foot. The teens split off in different directions; Hayden decided the gun-toter was the more important target. So he followed as the teen ran through the parking lot behind Dixwell Plaza, his revolver visible to bystanders in the lot. “Gun!” Gun!” they called out.
Hayden is no stranger to such encounters. (Read about some of his exploits here, here and here.) He knew other officers were coming to back him up in patrol cars from different directions. Still, he said, “there’s always a respectful level of fear. But fear is good. It lets you know to be safe, to be careful about what you’re doing.”
Hayden had radioed in the chase. Sgt. Sam Brown (pictured), Dixwell’s top cop, was typing on his computer in the police substation behind Dixwell Plaza when he heard the call. He raced out of the building, then took over the foot chase from Hayden.
Brown followed the gun-toter into the Florence Virtue Homes complex. The teen hopped two fences. Brown hopped them too. He tried to keep up while pulling the portable radio out of his pocket to update other cops about the chase’s progress.
“He’s going toward Orchard” Street, Brown radioed in as the pair ran through a courtyard.
Sgt. David Guliuzza (pictured) pulled up in his cruiser at Orchard.
“I’m so glad to see him. I’m getting tired,” Brown recalled.
Guliuzza emerged from his car as the 17-year-old headed toward him. The 17-year-old pulled his gun and pointed it right at Guliuzza.
Guliuzza pulled his own weapon in response. But he held fire. He commanded the teen to drop his gun—which the teen did. The cops arrested the teen, who has been a target of the police’s anti-gang-violence Project Longevity campaign, on weapons and interfering charges; it turned out he also had marijuana in his underwear. He’s suspected to have carried out numerous recent robberies. The police recovered his .38 special revolver, which was loaded with five hollow-point bullets. Police also caught up with the other teen who fled, and tried to “blend in” with the crowd nearby.
“Sgt. Guliuzza showed remarkable discipline,” Chief Esserman said. Esserman, who came to the scene, said Guliuzza set an example for two rookies who participated in the police response.
The cops pursued another gun-toter in the same area Monday night around 10.
Here’s what happened, according to Sgt. Brown:
Officer Tyren Robinson was driving through the rear Dixwell Plaza lot with rookie cop Michael Daniele. They saw a 26-year-old man wearing a dark red sweatshirt with yellow lettering. He saw them. Then he scrammed to the front of the plaza.
The officers got out of the car and followed him to the only store open at that hour, the Smoker’s Stop.
The man emerged from the store. The cops approached him.
“That wasn’t me,” he told them. “I swear to God!”
The officers patted him down. He did not have a gun on him. Officer Robinson checked in the store, didn’t say anyone else or a sign of trouble. They let the man go.
The cops returned to the store with a third officer, Todd Kelley. They learned from the clerk that the man had indeed run in and asked the clerk if he would “hold a gun” for him. The clerk said he’d refused. The man then wandered around the store.
The cops checked the aisles. Kelley discovered a Charter Arms .38 special handgun loaded with five rounds hidden under a bag of rice.
The officers reviewed surveillance video from the store. It showed the man wandering through the store, including by that bag of rice.
The man the cops had stopped was on probation for a previous offense; he’d only recently left jail after serving six years for felony robbery and weapons offenses. The cops checked with the man’s probation officer, who informed them the man was under electronic surveillance. Through GPS, they tracked his general whereabouts Tuesday afternoon to the Brookside area of West Rock.
A full crew of Dixwell cops headed out there. They didn’t have an exact address.
They did have the help of two young West Rock cops, Elizabeth White and Allyn Wright, aka “Salt & Pepper,” partners who have gotten to know the neighborhood well as new families have moved into newly built projects on some newly built streets. (Read about that here.) A neighbor they knew pointed the cops to the exact apartment where the suspect was hiding.
The police surrounded the apartment. Officers knocked on the front door.
The man ran out the back—only to find cops standing there.
He ran back inside.
Just then the woman who lives at the apartment opened the front door for Officer Hayden. Hayden saw the suspect run upstairs. He ran after him.
The man locked himself inside a room.
“Open the door!” Hayden commanded.
The man unlocked the door. “I give up,” he said. Police arrested him on weapons and reckless endangerment charges. The man, who is being held on $150,000 bond, is scheduled to appear next in court on Nov. 6.
Tags: Sam Brown, Robert Hayden, David Guliuzza, Dixwell cops
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Excellent policing. Perhaps they can get the gun sellers as well.
Its amazing that the police shoot as seldom as they do with people pointing guns straight at them.
When New Haven cops leave for work in the morning they can never be 100% sure if they’ll return home in the evening. I’m glad that officer Guliuzza was smart enough to hold his fire, and give the crazy kid a chance to drop his weapon. In East Haven that kid would’ve been dead.
So many punks on the streets carrying guns. Great job all around to all officers involved in both gun arrests. NHPD street cops don’t get enough of this, so thank you, great job, and stay safe. There should be a lot more comments for this article thanking our men and women who risk their lives and serve New Haven. Thanks again
I’m proud of the police officers that used such restraint. NHPD is really growing and evolving. Their knowledge of their neighborhoods is growing, and they’re responding correctly to the situations they encounter. It wasn’t always like that, so kudos to them for not only saving a life they could have taken with justification, but for saving another family from unnecessary loss.
Greats job by Dave ,Sam.and Rob all class acts, you guys used to be the young guys now your the old ones.stay safe
It’s not a question of being proud of an officer for holding fire - in other, similar situations that decision has cost the officer their life. Under most use of force policies of which I am aware, the use of deadly force upon someone that points a firearm at you is justified. It is a happy ending that no one was injured.
So that’s wonderful that some of you are praising the police…but if the Sergeant shot the young man would you be upset???? He would have had every right to shoot that young man. He pointed a gun at him…it’s unbelievable how this state is saturated in a liberal garbage way of thinking. There’s a lot of Officers that would have fired without hesitation and there are some that would have made the same choice as Sarge. Unfortunately we can’t read minds and with a gun pointed directly at you I’m not sure of how many other options one has. Sarge was fortunate that the young man didn’t make a decision to pull the trigger….“Sgt. Guliuzza showed remarkable discipline.” That was not the correct statement to make by Chief Esserman. Discipline???? I’ll have to agree with Nathan’s comment above…in many other situations that Officer could have been dead. Thank goodness everything worked out well. Those are all stand up officers….
@ nhpdbornandraised @ Nathan
You guys make a good point. I guess it all depends on the circumstances; the cop has to make a quick judgement call. Sgt. Guliuzza probably sized up this kid as someone who was scared and confused, and didn’t have the look of a killer about him. If the kid was dressed like a Crip or a Blood, then by all means shoot to kill.
I agree with you there ramonesfan…true indeed.