Someone had shot Tim Miller’s 16-month-old baby Tramire. Neighborhood cop Carlos Conceiaco came to Miller’s house with a message: “Lay low. We’ll take care of it.”
Miller, no stranger to the streets, did lay low.
And the cops did take care of it.
Both Conceiaco and Miller—baby Tramire in his arms—joined a bevy of top cops at police headquarters Monday morning to talk about that.
They talked about how the police arrested two alleged Crips gang members over the weekend and charged them in the shooting of Tramire.
“I am glad that you were in my ear,” the father, Tim Miller, told Police Chief Dean Esserman, Conceaico, and the phalanx of cops alongside them.
“I thank God for saving my son. But I thank y’all for protecting me from myself.” (Click on the play arrow above to watch.)
“Last Wednesday we were all shaken,” Chief Esserman remarked at the press conference. “All of us came together to bring justice to the family.”
The police are charging the men, ages 18 and 19, for firing bullets at the porch of Miller’s Kensington Street apartment as they drove by in a Toyota Camry at 2:31 p.m. last Wednesday. Tramire was sitting on the porch with his aunt. One bullet ripped through Tramire’s back and out through his chest, fracturing his pelvis. The aunt brought Tramire inside, where Tim had been in the bathroom. Tim scooped Tramire in his arms and rushed around the corner to the emergency room at the Hospital of St. Raphael campus of Yale-New Haven Hospital. As Tramire recovered, police conducted an around-the-clock citywide manhunt that ended with this weekend’s arrests.
Officers provided the following details Monday morning that fleshed out both how the shooting allegedly transpired and how the police caught the alleged shooters:
The latest dispute apparently started earlier on Wednesday in the Hill neighborhood. Members of the Kensington Street-based Tre Blods gang went there and allegedly shot at members of the Hill-based Grape Street Crips. The two groups have been feuding for months; that feud was believed to be behind the May 15 shooting death of Tyrell Trimble outside the Dwight Stop & Shop.
So the Crips came to the Kensington area Wednesday afternoon seeking revenge. They were driving the Toyota.
They spotted a young Blood outside the Shop Smart food at Orchard and Edgewood. The Blood slipped into the store, then ran through backyards toward Kensington.
The Crips followed on Edgewood in the Toyota, then turned onto Kensington. The Miller family lives in a house at the corner, one of dozens of federal Section 8-subsidized buildings in the neighborhood owned by the Community Builders company.
They didn’t spot the running Blood. They did spot several others near the corner. They started firing at the Bloods. One of the bullets hit Tramire in the crossfire. They sped off.
And the hunt began. Top cops soon ordered special units to drop other work and focus on the case. Cops huddled with colleagues from state and federal law enforcement agencies with whom they’ve been working on gang investigations. They compared notes on who might be be likely suspects and associates.
Learning To Walk Again
Attention quickly focused on the earlier shooting on Stevens Street in the Hill, where Lt. Holly Wasilewski has extensive contacts and information on troublemakers. The cops soon had the names of suspects.
Wasilewski’s crew arrested a man with a gun Wednesday night in the Hill—and it turned out, based on other info the cops developed, that that .380 pistol was one of the two weapons used in the Tramire shooting. (Ballistics testing will check that thesis.)
Based on eyewitness accounts and tips, the police also tracked down and recovered the Toyota, in the Goffe Street area.
Meanwhile, Officer Conceicao, who walks the Dwight beat (read about that here), came into work Wednesday night, even though he was off. He knows Tim Miller. He knows that Tim, who’s known as “Bones” on the street, spent time in jail before. He went to Miller’s house to urge him to stay cool, not to seek revenge, while the police worked hard on the case. Both at home and at the hospital, Tim and Sherie Miller would receive a steady stream of visits from Chief Esserman, Mayor John DeStefano, and cops throughout the rest of the week.
Meanwhile, beat officers like Conceicao in Dwight and Chris Alvarado in the Hill worked alongside detectives sharing information they’ve picked up from walking their neighborhood beats and developing relationships. They helped track down the first of the two young men arrested for Tramire’s shooting, who goes by the nickname “JoJo.” They arrested JoJo Saturday night at his home on Chapel Street. Then they obtained a search warrant; they allegedly found a .357 Magnum, the second gun believed to be used in the incident, in the basement.
State parole tracked down the other alleged Crip who fired at Tramire’s porch. (Police said they don’t know which shooter hit Tramire.) He was arrested for a parole violation and locked up. Monday police were preparing a warrant to serve him in jail for the Tramire shooting.
A “white shirt” (police detective) came to the Millers’ apartment soon after the arrest Saturday night to deliver the news.
The Millers had been wrestling with conflicting feelings ever since the shooting, overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, the intensity of public scrutiny, and their fears and anger over their baby’s shooting.
The police department’s victim services officer, Jillian Knox, visited with the Miller family Sunday as the parents continue to cope with their grief.
“At the end of the day I don’t know what happened,” Tim Miller said later on Sunday. “Are they certain these are the people? We’re still in this environment. Everybody out here is a target for a drive-by-shooting.”
He said his son Tramire had started walking at eight or nine months old. After surviving the shooting, Tramire came home Friday with a big hole in his belly and a broken pelvis. He wasn’t able to walk again quite yet.
Miller also reacted angrily to reports that police believe he may have been an intended target of the shooting. At the time, he said, he was inside his apartment, in the bathroom. He had just come home from buying two loosies at the Dux convenience store down the block. Tramire’s aunt was on the porch with him. She brought the baby in after the shooting; Tim scooped him into his arms and brought him on foot to the emergency room of the Hospital of St. Raphael campus of Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Miller, who’s 39, served six years in jail, getting out in 2000. He insisted he has lived a religious life as a Muslim and made a point of staying away from trouble.
“I’m not a target,” he declared Sunday. “I’m not a drug dealer. I’m not no Blood. I’m not no Crip.”
“When I was in the streets, they weren’t even born,” Miller said of the people shooting each other in New Haven now. “I don’t know these dudes.”
Tramire was in good spirits as his mother Sherie Miller, accompanied by two companions, brought him through the door of their Kensington Street home around 2:45 p.m. Friday.
Tim, known in the neighborhood as “Bones,” was there waiting.
The Millers said they felt overjoyed that “Tra Tra” (pronounced TRAY-tray) had pulled through. “You can’t even tell he’s been shot!” exclaimed Tim, who explained that the son’s name derives from “emir,” or ruler or chief.
Tim Miller said they also felt overwhelmed by the constant presence of “L-Roy” (the cops) and reporters and others in their lives since the shooting. Overwhelmed, and a bit angry.
Earlier Friday, at 10 a.m., Tim, a 39-year-old man with bulging muscles, was mopping the floor in anticipation of Tramire’s return home from Yale-New Haven Hospital. Sherie was hopping in a car with friends for a ride to the hospital to retrieve the boy.
A range of emotions flooded Tim as he peered through the blinds of a front window and revisited the events of the past two days since before the shooting.
Eyes filled with tears, Tim Miller said he did not want to be photographed or quoted in a news article. He asked for a few hours to collect his emotions, write down his thoughts, go to Masjid Al-Islam on George Street for Friday afternoon prayers.
He returned from prayers in time for Tramire’s return. He had four small notebook pages filled with penciled thoughts.
Here is what Tim Miller wrote:
“For the record my name is Timothy Michael Leroy Miller Sr. Swagger Frank. Most call me Bone.
“I’m not even gonna sugarcoat this shit. I’m upset, angry. But I’m not gonna let no one get me mad.
“L-Roy n’ other newz sources sayn on one hand Mr. Miller you did the right thing while on the other maken accusations as if I was on the porch or someone is after me. Listen man. Cant no one be after me. Cant no one make me prey. Cant no one get me mad.
I must remind myself. All the cats out here on these streets are kids maken ignorant choices. I use to be one of them. That’s why its so hard to understand. But at the same time so easy to relate ...
“In my life no one ever hunted for me. Not even the law. If they wanted me I turned myself in. If niggers wanted me I cashed them in ... 20 something or so years later same shit.
“I’m not in the streets to have problems. I rarely go out clubn because of the kid population.
“Hear this. At age 39, I’m not grown but a growing man. Today I don’t have a vengeful heart with all that’s happened. I’m at peace my son is yet with his family. Things will never the same but with the Almighty Allah our situation will get better.
“Today as a man on this earth and a child of ‘GOD’ I’m praying for you my brothers n not preying on you: Revenge or to wish anyone despair won’t ease my pain nor will it enhance me or my family’s life.
“I’m not really not mad at anyone just hurt. Confused. A little angry with this fact that my son is seriously ...
” ... Forgive me. I was interrupted by the L Royz with questions. I don’t fuck with the Royz.
” Thanks niggers for all this attention that I so don’t need news reporters L Royz mayor chiefs cops ... All sorts of light. Thanks for nothing. Just angry with the fact that my baby was seriously injured.
“He’s okay. Thank GOD we’re all together just as every man should be at least make an extra effort to be with yo child or children. I’m never given up on mine ...
“At the end of the day lets put an end to this nonsense ... calling on all those concerned.
“Young brothers I will only pray for you not prey on you. My life has been about my family n will continue to be about them.”