A funeral turned out to be the right place to find a wanted man. But not the right time to nab him.
That was the case this past Friday, when New Haven police met up with a man wanted on five warrants and suspected of carrying out a shooting.
They found him at a funeral at Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church on Orchard Street. But rather than cause a scene amid the grieving, they wanted for the right opportunity to bring him in.
Here’s how it all happened, according to top Dixwell cop Sgt. Sam Brown (pictured):
A bunch of officers were present at Beulah for the funeral of a young woman who had passed away. A crowd came to pay last respects. Including a friend of hers, born in 1994, who had five outstanding warrants on charges ranging from larceny and assault to felony stalking. Detectives had been looking for the man to question him in connection with a shooting in a parking lot earlier this year; he’s the suspected shooter. He’s also believed to be a member of “The Two-Five,” a west side street gang causing trouble these days. (The name refers to being active 25 hours a day, or “25-7.”)
Detectives Lynn Meekins and Lucille Roach noticed the man in the church. They came up to Brown. “I think that’s the guy,” they told him.
Brown didn’t want to create a scene at the funeral itself. The detectives kept their eye on the man as the funeral took place. He joined the crowd pouring out along with the casket afterwards. Meekins got a close-up look. She nodded to Brown: Yep, that’s the guy.
“We couldn’t go grab him” right then, Brown said. “We didn’t want to start fighting when they’re carrying out the casket.”
The suspect made eye contact with the cops. He started “trotting” away from the church, toward Henry Street.
Officers then left the scene, following him on foot.
The suspect ran behind the church, onto County Street, through rear yards, onto Munson Street. The officers lost him. They set up a “perimeter” on surrounding streets.
The man slipped into a multifamily house on Dixwell. A woman came out of the house to tell the police a man had run in, seeming nervous, asking for water. The cops called on the man through a bullhorn to come out and surrender.
He did. He remains behind bars and has yet to enter a plea. He has a court date scheduled for next Wednesday.