Muggers Meet Target’s Sig Sauer P239

Facebook PhotoBrandon Kruse said nothing when three attackers set upon him on his way out for sushi and a beer. Words weren’t necessary.

Kruse pulled out a handgun instead. The attackers fled; soon after, he helped the cops arrest them.

The encounter took place Saturday at 9:46 p.m.

Kruse, a 29-year-old sales manager for a company that sells ceramic pots, was walking from his Trumbull Street residence to Kumo Japanese Restaurant at State and Elm.

He had a handgun on him, a Sig Sauer P239. He has a permit to carry the gun, but he doesn’t usually carry it. For some reason he carried it Saturday night. He’s not sure why. “I just had a weird feeling,” he said.

At State and Wall, three young men walked toward him. He stepped to the left. One of the young men punched him in the head; the two others surrounded him.

The initial attacker punched him again with a closed fist.

Kruse was able to push him back. Then Kruse reached for his waistband. He pointed the gun at them. He didn’t speak.

“I just pulled the gun. They all scattered,” Kruse said in an interview Monday.

“I was shaking. It’s one of those things you don’t expect it. You’re walking by, minding your business. You’re attacked.”

Kruse called 911. Then two of the gang returned to the scene to retrieve some sandals and shopping bags they’d dropped. He pulled the gun again—and this time he spoke. “Stand back,” he said, and held them there until two cops arrived.

According to a report written by one of the officers, Steven Cunningham, the two young men (who are minors) claimed they “had nothing to do with the incident.” They “stated they didn’t know why their friend ... attacked” Kruse.

The cops put out a broadcast for the third man, who had struck Kruse. A sergeant responded that Yale cops had detained a man fitting the description, at Church and Chapel. Kruse accompanied the cops to that intersection and identified the man as his attacker. The cops charged the man, who’s 19, with disorderly conduct, third-degree assault, and possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana.

Kruse suffered a bruised jawbone and “kind of a blackish eye” in the attack, but declined medical attention. “I’m OK,” he said Monday. “I don’t like to make a big deal out of things.” He praised the way the cops handled the incident.

Kruse moved to New Haven a year ago. He said he obtained a permit to carry a concealed weapon not so he could walk down State Street with it,  but “just to be able to buy handguns without a hassle.” I’ve had guns all my life,” he said. “I grew up on a farm in southern Illinois.” He shoots for fun at New Haven Sportsman’s Club in North Guilford.

1 Mugged, 1 Shot

A man lost $25 and a Blackberry to two bike-riding muggers at Elm and Temple streets at around 9:20 p.m. Sunday. A handgun was visible in one of the muggers’ waistbands.

A 19-year-old was shot in the neck on Monroe Street in Fair Haven at around 9:50 p.m. Friday. He told police two young men “were responsible.” Police called his injury non-life-threatening.

Crime Map

Click here for a list of major crimes for July 31. Click on the image below to see those incidents placed on a citywide map.

NHPDFor block-by-block year-to-date crime information, plus daily crime maps, check out the Independent’s Crime Log.

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posted by: What??? on August 1, 2011  4:38pm

Why would you print the guys name, address, and photo?...while he did a great job detaining them until the police arrived he is still considered a victim! Why not print the names and photos of the alleged criminals?

posted by: to what?? on August 1, 2011  5:06pm

If NHI posted this information without consent, ignore my post.

I think the individual embodies something a lot of New Haven lacks: a prepared individual with confidence to directly address a situation. I don’t think he cares if they show his photo. We need more people like him.

Further, the guy in the photo carries and can likely handle a pistol correctly. Do you think this will draw or deter potential attackers?

Well done Brandon

posted by: Yaakov on August 1, 2011  5:54pm

Imagine if even 10% of the law-abiding citizens of New Haven took the time to learn to use and handle a firearm safely, got their concealed carry permit, and were legally armed.

Maybe a few muggers might think twice before going up against those odds.

posted by: ozzie on August 1, 2011  6:08pm

Obviously he took Sgt. Lou Cavalier’s advice that the citizens should arm themselve’s. New Haven is like the wild west. Good for him for protecting himself !

posted by: Robert Dobolina on August 1, 2011  6:08pm

I wonder if this young man will be condemned and chastised by the “activists.”  We’ll soon find out…

posted by: Livesinfairhaven on August 1, 2011  6:27pm

New Haven Independent:  Please provide the name and address of (at least) the 19 year-old alleged offender.

posted by: Sunday on August 1, 2011  6:42pm

Great store I applaud him. I would have done the same thing myself. Why become a victim when you don’t have to. I like good endings to stories like these. Things have got to change to many law abiding citizens are becoming victims. I don’t condone violence in any form but when you work hard for something no other person should take it from you.If you can’t defend what you own why work for it. “Just my view”.

posted by: VD on August 1, 2011  7:02pm

I don’t know about all of you, but I’ve noticed that too many crimes are happening during the day or early evening.  It’s certainly not okay for crime to happen at 2:00 am either, but it’s more expected.  It give me a feeling of unease.

I’m grateful the three thugs were \
caught.  Thank you, Brandon.  I won’t be carrying a gun around anytime soon, but I understand completely why others would.

posted by: habitue on August 1, 2011  7:44pm

Brandon should be commended & awarded. COJONES! Muggers, thieves & other criminals are the true violators of basic & statutory civil rights. Some people in our lovely city seem outraged when Police Officers don’t arrest a criminal politely enough. They should take inventory of their values & actions before jumping on a PC/feelgood bandwagon. I am sick of being accosted for money downtown and yes, have been a victim of an attempted mugging. Yet the only thing my assailant gained was a return punch to the face. This article is over 3 hours old & yet, I wonder where the usual cast of characters commenting here are???

posted by: Ora on August 1, 2011  8:11pm

Although we have a right to carry a gun with a permit, I don’t think that is the solution to solving New Haven’s problems. I am just glad that the victim is ok and it didn’t turn into a shoot out! Scary stuff going on in this city.

posted by: SaveOurCity on August 1, 2011  10:54pm

Bravo Brendon,

I also grew up in a place where guns are commonplace and crime is low.  Its a sad statement that the reason that I need one in New Haven is because the system won’t protect me. 

I’ve often said that it would make my neighborhood safer in the long run if one of these punks made the mistake of breaking into my house.  There is no question that a few more stories of folks who can and will stand up for themselves will make the criminals looks elsewhere.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on August 2, 2011  12:27am

I’m with Ora.  These were a handful of unarmed punks and he was able to scare them off; good for him. Far too likely that for the next person who tries it, this kind of situation turns into a shootout.

posted by: JackNH on August 2, 2011  7:10am

The mayor should give him a metal.  What do you think the chances are??

posted by: Cinderella on August 2, 2011  7:15am

I have lived in New Haven since 1973 and cycles of violence and calm are the state of the city. Even during periods of calm, I knew not to walk down certain streets in the evening by myself or with one other person. New Haven has never been a walking city because of random crime, whether it’s young men on bicycles or full-fledged muggers with guns. Someone should have told this brave young man that walking out his door at 9pm on any night to walk to a restaurant downtown is inviting trouble. He’s lucky he wasn’t injured.

We love our city, but hey, it is the Wild West. Why do you think Yale is buying up all of downtown NH? It’s to wall themselves off from the urban nightmare of poverty and crime. At least they put Ivy on their brick walls. It’s pretty to look at.

posted by: elmas on August 2, 2011  8:24am

Go Brandon!

Buying a gun should be a pre-requisite before moving to ...
New Haven.
What a freaking misnomer that is.

posted by: robn on August 2, 2011  10:28am

So let me get this straight….Mr Kruse got punched in the head before he pulled out his firearm? Of course he did…why would someone pull out a firearm and aim it at somebody who hasn’t done anything…So then he (and we) are very lucky because if the attacker hit him harder and knocked him senseless, that firearm would very likely be out on the streets.

posted by: Pete on August 2, 2011  11:26am

If this occurred in NY State, he would have been tested for alcohol/drug use, and God forbid he had 1-2 beers before picking up his tekka don, he would have been placed under arrest, had his CCW confiscated (for at least 6 months) whether guilty or not.

posted by: Jim on August 2, 2011  11:36am

This is a great story.  The police won’t protect you so it is best to do it yourself.  If more people would carry there would be much less crime.  This is the world we live in today so get used to it.  You have to step up and protect yourself and your family.

posted by: Yaakov on August 2, 2011  11:53am


Perhaps the answer to your dilemma is open carry, which is legal in Connecticut.

Perhaps seeing a Sig Sauer on your target’s hip might encourage a moment of reconsideration?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 2, 2011  12:35pm

He reminds me of Bernhard Goetz.

posted by: robn on August 2, 2011  12:41pm


Or maybe open carry is the answer to the criminals dilemma. If I were the perp, and if I had seen a guy advertising that he was carrying, I’d have made sure I knocked him senseless and then taken the firearm.

posted by: Pete on August 2, 2011  12:53pm


Yes OC is legal, but you’ll draw looks and get stopped and questioned by every cop, whether called or “bumped” into, and for the cop(s) that are not aware of OC laws, you run the risk of arrest.

posted by: mitchel on August 2, 2011  2:08pm

... I’m smart enough to know that I personally shouldn’t have a gun, but i’m damned glad this kid does.

posted by: click click on August 2, 2011  3:21pm

Great job! By the way why doesn’t the NHI post the attackers race?

posted by: mitchel on August 2, 2011  3:38pm

I just love the way NHI, especially you PB, hack away at our ‘comments”.  way to not be a public forum guys.

posted by: Atwater on August 2, 2011  3:50pm

This is the main reason why I moved out of New Haven. I don’t want to live in a town where carrying a weapon is considered necessary. Unfortunately it is certainly becoming that way. Daylight mugging and assaults are on the rise, and not just in the “bad” neighborhoods, but in almost every corner of the city. Why should a person have to deal with that, on top of all the other issues that make living here barley bearable?
Now I live in a town where they haven’t had a murder in years, maybe decades, no muggings or random assaults either. But, I still have to worry about the walk from my office (in New Haven) to the train station. It’s too bad, New Haven has always been a part of the family history, a place that I thought wasn’t as bad as people said it was. I guess I was wrong.

posted by: Jim on August 2, 2011  4:22pm

I love the way my comments aren’t posted on this site if the moderator disagrees with my view.  Ah, life in America.  The 1st Amendment is alive and well as long as your viewpoint doesn’t conflict with the NHI.

posted by: Mister Jones on August 2, 2011  4:34pm

He works for “a company that sells ceramic pots”?  More like crucibles and foundry equipment…

posted by: V on August 2, 2011  5:27pm

Robn, way to turn a good story around, and into a cautionary tale.  ...

posted by: robn on August 2, 2011  5:42pm


I’m glad Mr Kruse is OK and I’m glad he stood up for himself but the story could have ended differently.

The god’s honest truth is I just don’t know what typically happens. I researched DOJ and FBI databases in vain to find stats on stolen guns (how many are robbed from people on the street as opposed to burgled). Couldn’t find them.

All I know is that there are two worrisome things about carrying. One is killing somebody (either a mugger or an innocent passerby) and the other is inadvertently providing somebody with a tool to kill (me and/or others.)

posted by: Morris Cove Mom on August 3, 2011  9:26am

Kruse did what he had to do, and it is sad that he had to do it.  Maybe he carried the gun because he knows that the NHPD do not respond quickly enough to actually help people, or that they never get the message from dispatch.  It is a sad day when people have to live in fear trying to walk down the street to dinner.

posted by: Eric on August 3, 2011  12:06pm

Do you get this?

posted by: Renfield on August 3, 2011  3:30pm

robn: It is extremely rare that criminals disarm a citizen on the street and steal his gun. Virtually all illegally possessed firearms are either stolen or smuggled. The common notion that people buy piles of guns at southern gun shows and then take them north to sell them is pure myth. People who try it are soon caught.

click click: These days, by not citing the race of perpetrators, a newspaper does in fact inform its readers of their race.

As for open carry, here in Alabama, it is not unusual to see somebody with a .45 on his hip filling his gas tank or sitting on a park bench. Nobody thinks anything of it. However, the experts in defensive use of firearms generally advocate concealed carry if it’s legal.

I became interested in this story partially because my Connecticut CCW permit arrived just last week.

posted by: robn on August 3, 2011  3:53pm


No offense, but I’d like to see official stats on firearm thefts. Where did you get your information?

posted by: Vinnie on August 3, 2011  6:05pm

Good for Mr. Kruse but I rate the writing ability of the author a “D”.  His inability to write coherent, flowing sentences resembles the writings of an inexperienced 11th grade high school student.  Unfortunately this dismal quality of reporting is becomming all too common in today’s local media.  One has to wonder what exactly is being taught in journalism school since it’s obvious it’s not basic sentence structure…..........But then again, that’s what high school is for.

posted by: Renfield on August 3, 2011  10:42pm

robn: Some interesting reading for you:

Apparently the source of illegal guns varies with the type of criminal. According to the Department of Justice, most juvenile criminals obtain stolen guns. The PDF at the link shows a lot of interesting information, and it treats stolen guns as a major category. Of course, guns taken by criminals from someone legally carrying would be in the “stolen” category, but I have never read or heard of such a case. (If that were really an issue, Bloomberg and the Brady Bunch would be hyping it. They’re not.) On average, more than 300,000 reports of theft of firearms made each year, often of more than one gun.

I did read that BATF employees have themselves lost many guns to thieves, and of course the BATF was responsible recently for many guns getting into the hands of criminals in Mexico.

Another site notes that “straw” purchases by a legal purchaser, most often the criminal’s girlfriend or mother(!), are more common for adult criminals. Purchases from drug dealers are also common.

I’ve seen precise breakdowns of the sources of guns used in violent crimes. Try the DoJ site.

posted by: Edward_H on August 4, 2011  12:38am

“If I were the perp, and if I had seen a guy advertising that he was carrying, I’d have made sure I knocked him senseless and then taken the firearm.”

Following this reasoning we should disarm Police officers in order to prevent criminals from stealing their weapons as well.

Knocking an average healthy person “senseless” is not as easy as TV makes it appear. I learned how to box as a kid in Brooklyn (before it became a hippie Mecca) and discovered most guys ,including myself, can take several direct blows to the head before even becoming disoriented. The human skull can take a lot of punishment. The reason boxers wear boxing gloves is not to protect the heads of their opponents but to protect their hands. The few times I have seen someone knocked out in a street fight have been due to the person’s head colliding with another object, usually the sidewalk.

Criminals are not always the brightest examples of humanity but they usually have a normal sense of self preservation which means attacking a person obviously armed with a firearm is unlikely.

Even Obama knows to bring a gun if someone brings a knife to a fight

posted by: James on August 4, 2011  8:10am


posted by: robn on August 4, 2011  9:19am


Great DOJ data (with a source!) thank you. Its a bit old but good breakdowns. At the very bottom there is a chart called, “Average annual number of victimizations in which firearms were stolen.”
Out of a total 340,000 annual gun thefts, in the category of Personal Theft (which I take to be muggings) stolen firearms amount to 56,200 (33,900 handguns, 22,300 other).

So it may only be 16% of the total, but thats a lot of guns robbed from people. Can I rest my case?

posted by: robn on August 4, 2011  9:38am


The storytelling might be a bit choppy but I didn’t find any grammatical errors. I guess the whole deadline thing is why there are separate Pulitzer prizes for reporting and for fiction.

Have you read the NHI Chris Hoffman series about the mob in New Haven? Its a very compelling read.

posted by: Renfield on August 4, 2011  10:40am

I don’t think “personal theft” encompasses mugging somebody and then taking his gun. Such cases would fall under “violent crime” and would certainly be considered robberies, not thefts. Those “violent crime” numbers total 7,900 over 6 years. So yes, it does happen, but it’s rare, and it would include guns taken by one criminal from another criminal. Again, cases in which an armed citizen is disarmed by a criminal who then steals the gun are very rare.

Thanks for the link, James.

posted by: robn on August 4, 2011  11:32am


The stats were taken over 6 years but the numbers are expressed annually in this chart. So even if your right and “Violent Crime” = mugging, then annually, 7,900 firearms were taken in muggings(5,300 handguns, 2,600 other).

Thats still a lot of weapons….CT represents a bit more than 1% of US population so that means over 50 handguns may have been robbed from people in our very own state.

posted by: Renfield on August 4, 2011  12:41pm

robn: Not necessarily in muggings. And not necessarily legally owned guns transferring to illegal possession. If a 20-year-old gangbanger beats up a 14-year-old gangbanger and takes his gun, that would qualify as a robbery as well. Fifty guns in Connecticut? I suspect that the number of guns taken from honest Connecticut citizens in personal robberies (e.g., muggings, home invasions) is nowhere near that figure.

Even if 7,900 guns are taken in personal robberies, that would represent only 0.0027 of 1 percent of the guns in America.

Further, if an honest citizen was robbed of a gun in a mugging, don’t you think the anti-gun crowd would be trumpeting that fact throughout the land? Where are the stories? Do you know of any? And do you know of a case where someone committed a mugging and got away with a rifle?

posted by: Renfield on August 4, 2011  1:12pm

I based those figures on 300 million guns. There are closer to 200 million, so the percentage would be slightly larger (0.004 of 1%, or 1 gun in 25,000). Consider also the elasticity of the illegal firearms trade. Even if ZERO guns were taken in personal robberies, the effect on the market would be trivial.

So it’s fallacious to think that a gun stolen in a mugging actually makes society more dangerous, or that turning in a gun to the police makes it safer.

We would also have to consider the counterfactual, which is impossible to know: If concealed carry was banned entirely, how would criminals change their behavior, knowing that all their prospective victims were unarmed?

posted by: robn on August 4, 2011  2:05pm

If the DOJ has a stolen gun stat, then the guns were stolen…it doesn’t matter if it’s stolen from an upstanding citizen or a gangbanger (the latter nt a likely scenario…how many gangbangers report robberies?).
In any event, the percentages mean nothing. 50 guns, stolen and put on the streets of New Haven is 50 guns.

posted by: V on August 4, 2011  3:46pm

Robn, your original point is that we were lucky that his gun didn’t get stolen and used against the rest of us.  This seems to imply that the victim in this story should have just taken his mugging like a good citizen and not endangered the rest of us.
The counterpoint is that law abiding handgun carriers rarely have their guns taken.
Your response seems to be that all guns are bad and that no one should have them.  The thugs of new haven, of course, will enjoy that day.

posted by: Renfield on August 4, 2011  3:54pm

robn: It does matter, since the issue is not the total number but the subset you yourself defined early on: the number of guns stolen from citizens legally carrying and eventually used in crimes. Therefore, “all guns stolen in violent crimes” is not a useful parameter with respect to concealed carry. Unless we can find solid statistics on the subset of interest, that number can only be inferred. I maintain that it is very small. If you think otherwise, can you provide some examples or statistics along those lines? My guess is that you can’t.

I am a pistol instructor, and I have carried, and been an advocate for concealed carry, for many years. I have never heard of a case where a legally armed citizen was mugged and had his gun stolen. I have heard of many, however, in which the legally armed citizen deterred a criminal attack. I’m beginning to wonder whether you are truly concerned about this issue or simply being contrary.

The (dubious) figure of 50 would apply to all of Connecticut, not just New Haven. If “50 guns is 50 guns,” then we’re all safer when cities run their ridiculous buyback programs, which supposedly reduce the number of guns on the street. “More guns = more crime” may be a mantra in the anti-gun world, but it’s simply another fallacy.

posted by: robn on August 4, 2011  4:58pm


I’m searching for the truth. The fact is that I’m trying to draw logical inferences from the DOJ data (like maybe that a lot of gun robberies (not thefts, but robberies) probably happen in urban areas where 80% of the US population lives). You’re presenting me with anecdotes.

I do have to admit that I’m impressed with the number of crimes successfully defended with firearms (in the same report which you lend no validity).

P.S. I’ve spent a big part of my life in a hunting state and I respect responsible gun ownership.

posted by: Jim on August 5, 2011  2:26am


posted by: robn on August 5, 2011  8:44am


I’m on topic, factual, and actually from New Haven. So who’s the troll; me or you?

posted by: Billy Bob on August 11, 2011  12:48am

What don’t you understand about criminal attorneys and the rights of their clients. They have basically been able to almost guarantee that as ONE “alleged or suspected” criminal,they have MORE rights than ALL law abiding civilians added together.  Support armed citizens and our Constitutional right to bear arms and help put the REAL criminals behind bars. Prosecuting criminals is cheaper than frivolous BS lawsuits against lawful owners and our gun rights.

posted by: Billy Bob on August 11, 2011  1:42am

Please block the banter between Robn & Renfield. They will only agree to disagree and all their DOJ statistics are manipulated figures as anyone can attest.  Amazing that all of the 50 guns stolen in Conn made their way MIRACULOUSLY ont New Haven.  GEE what are the odds???

posted by: VA CHP Holder on August 15, 2011  11:30pm

Iam a concealed carry permit holder. My question is why are you going out for food and a “beer” while carrying. In my opinion, you should not have any alcohol while carrying. Outside of that, good for him.

posted by: Edward_H on August 17, 2011  1:47am

VA CHP Holder

I also have a permit for CC here in Connecticut. Carrying a firearm while under the influence is illegal in this state. However, the young man did not say he was going to consume alcohol while carrying. I can’t think of any restaurant in New Haven that does not serve take out. If he were buying his beer and food and taking it home he is well within his legal right to do so. He is also allowed to carry if not intoxicated.

posted by: Renfield on August 17, 2011  9:17am

Well, Edward, it does say that he was “on his way out for sushi and a beer.” I guess that could include picking up a takeout order, but it doesn’t sound like it.

Some states require that people carrying firearms stay within the same blood-alcohol limits that apply to driving a motor vehicle. Others (e.g., Virginia) revoke your permit if you have any alcohol at all in your system. Whatever state you’re in, people seriously involved in concealed carry recommend that you not drink AT ALL.

If you are involved in an incident, the fact that you had been drinking—even a small amount—can and probably will militate against you. When that anti-gun prosecutor asks you in court, “Did you have anything to drink that night?” you want to be able to answer, “No.”

posted by: Edward_H on August 17, 2011  9:59am


The article is unclear as to if the young man was going to sit down at the restaurant and have his dinner. I was simply pointing out to VA CHP that there is more than one way to look at the information given in the article.  I suspect that to people who are from more rural areas buying food and beer at a restaurant and taking it home sounds strange. But here in New Haven it is quite common. Even Robn would agree to that. Given the information in the article I choose to give the young man the benefit of the doubt for two reasons, first he seems like a decent fellow, secondly it is extremely rare to see a 29 year old eating by himself in a sushi restaurant.

posted by: Edward_H on August 31, 2011  3:21am

Interesting article. Some of the attacks listed here seem similar to what happened to this young man.