1 Dead, 5 Injured In Strip Club Shooting

A woman was killed, and five people were injured, as bullets flew early Saturday inside the Key Club Cabaret at 85 Saint John Street, according to police.

The shooting took place at 3:31 a.m. at the strip club, which sits near the corner of Hamilton Street, according to police spokesman Officer Dave Hartman.

Erika Robinson, 26, of West Haven, died from a gunshot, Hartman said. Jahad Brumsey, 29, remained in critical condition as of 3:30 p.m. Four other New Haveners were injured: Nijia Ward, 24; Albert Dickerson, 34; Amanda John, 19; and Ivette Sterling, 25.

Here’s what happened, according to Hartman:

At 3:31 a.m., a city cop was outside of the club. “He heard gunfire coming from within the club.”

“As he rushed in, a crowd of over a hundred patrons were rushing out through the club’s main doorway,” Hartman wrote. Several other cops were stationed within the block. They arrived on scene “within seconds.”

“Amid the chaos,” police found six gunshot victims in the club’s after-hours area. “The area of the club that was open to the public has a ‘bring your own alcohol’ policy,” Hartman wrote. A promotional flyer online advertises it as “CT’s largest after-hours” party.

When cops went inside, “the interior was littered with drug paraphernalia, drug packaging and reeked of marijuana,” Hartman said. “Police were told the club’s owners, John Bertini and Peter Forchetti, were not at the property during the shootings.”

One woman was pronounced dead. The other victims—three women and two men—were rushed to the hospital by ambulance.

“Detectives have begun their investigation and have been interviewing several witnesses. Thus far, a suspect has not been identified,” Hartman wrote.

Police ask anyone with information about the crime to call detectives at 203-946-6304. Calls may be made anonymously.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy issued this statement about the incident: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the woman who died as a result of her injuries, the victims who are fighting for their lives, and all who are impacted by this senseless violence. This is a tragic reminder that despite progress in recent years, Connecticut cities still suffer too often from the plague of gun violence. On the state, municipal, and community levels, Connecticut must continue to work together to make all our communities safer.”

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posted by: Stylo on October 26, 2013  5:26pm

Malloy will suggest it’s a gun control issue, but it’s really a poverty issue.

posted by: K Harrison on October 26, 2013  5:52pm

So sorry to hear this. Thinking of the victims and their families in this awful time.

posted by: Tommy Hobbes on October 26, 2013  6:30pm

Is it me or is it irresponsible of NHI to list the addresses of the victims?

Also this isn’t a gun or poverty issue. This is ‘culture of violence issue’. Truly impoverished people don’t party until 0330 in a for-profit establishment.

posted by: LadyERT on October 26, 2013  6:51pm

It is NOT a poverty issue. If people can get dressed up, buy alcohol and pay to get into a strip club, smoke marijuana and throw money around, poverty is not their issue. Lack of self control and decency is the problem.

posted by: TheMadcap on October 26, 2013  8:27pm

It is poverty. I bet you there’s a 90% chance this is somehow gang/crew related. Gangs form where there is poverty, more often than not to control drug sales, and people start selling drugs when they’re young usually because they’re also poor. How much do some of you guys imagine it cost to go to a B level nightclub in New Haven?

posted by: MamaBear on October 26, 2013  9:07pm

@Tommy Hobbes"Is it me or is it irresponsible of NHI to list the addresses of the victims?”
[Editor: I agree too. Addresses removed.]

posted by: nhpdbornandraised on October 26, 2013  9:42pm

Well said Tommy Hobbes and LadyERT….my biggest concern here is the fact that this is becoming a trend of violence INSIDE of these “ratchet” clubs in New Haven. We know violence can happen outside, the club can’t necessarily control that but are they even patting down anyone???? Absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable…I don’t know why people patronize these death traps…

posted by: obi on October 27, 2013  7:57am

ALL these clubs that attrack guns, drugs and violence need to be shut down.  It was done in the past and should be repeated.  Especially the one on Winchester Ave, ALL clubs downtown New Haven and near by.  In this club the owners should be made accountable for the pot that was allowed. Use the three strikes and you are out of business.

posted by: Career High School Parent on October 27, 2013  8:15am


Do explain how this is a poverty issue. I would say its a poverty of character,  and being morally bankrupt, but how on earth does it have anything to do with being low income?

posted by: prim0011 on October 27, 2013  8:28am

I’m upset that these incident are becoming more common. In the inner city of new haven. Can’t just depend on the city and government . It start with US ! can’t help those who don’t won’t to help them self.SMH…

posted by: Career High School Parent on October 27, 2013  10:18am

@the madcap..you are assuming that it’s gang related! Could it possibly be a dispute over a smudged sneaker? Maybe it’s a jilted lover exacting revenge on his girlfriends new love interest? Or maybe someone bumped someone accidentally? Please don’t assume. What if it was a robbery gone bad? There is probably lots of cash on the patrons in these dens of iniquity.

Let’s get the facts before we assume that it’s gang related.

posted by: Stylo on October 27, 2013  12:48pm

Love the sticking of heads in the sand of poverty.

Do kids raised in a stable middle class environment regularly shoot each other up in nightclubs? Nope.

Poverty creates broken households, poor upbringing and a lack of education at home. It also creates the temptation for kids to sell drugs, get into gangs as a means of both income and acceptance. When there’s little hope in life, being a gang banger and being unafraid to use deadly weapons or be shot becomes reality.

Sure, they may have had the money to party at a strip club. From selling drugs. It doesn’t mean they weren’t raised in and still live in poverty. These kids will waste money on cars and clothes and not their own kids and you’re surprised they’re partying at a strip club.

Epic ignorance in these comments.

posted by: Bigtony on October 27, 2013  3:14pm

How did a weapon get in the club

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on October 27, 2013  4:23pm

The simplistic and unnecessary stereotyping of poor people here is offensive.  Poverty is an ecomonic condition, not a moral one. 

The suggestion that poor people buy and sell drugs because they are poor does not explain why middle and upper middle class people do so. 

People sell and buy drugs for reasons that are external to their economic condition, but that are consistent with their moral fiber.  So, drug trafficking, which is accompained by violence, must be addressed from the point where people are willing to break the law and negatively afrect their community by doing so, but not at the point of poverty (or race).

posted by: Trustme on October 27, 2013  4:50pm

Well said Tommy and Ladyert. The shooter is the only person to blame and I said it before, these club owners have to be more responsible for these terrible acts of senseless crimes. I hope the shooter gets caught and never see daylight again.

posted by: Career High School Parent on October 27, 2013  8:20pm

So funny how we forget about Columbine, Sandy Hook, et al….those kids were middle class…what about the kids who brutally murdered the two Dartmouth professors, and lest we forget Timothy Komisarjesky….that horrible animal..

All of these assailants were middle and upper class…so should we say that all middle class kids slaughter innocents babies? They are more likely to wreak havoc on a high school in bucolic Colorado? Rape, sodomize and photograph 11 year old little girls in idyllic, so called ” safe” Chesire CT.

Or what about the methadone clinics in Fairfield county that are swarming with drug addled doctors. lawyers, investment bankers, past suburban soccer moms who have turned to turning tricks?

Sociopaths live in all zip codes.

So please, get off the impoverished crap…it smells of elitism, and even racism.

posted by: robn on October 27, 2013  8:41pm


CHSP has a point. Do 9 or 10 suburban rampage killings in 2012 count as frequent? Just sayin.


posted by: yim-a on October 28, 2013  7:39am

In 2011,  several New Haven legislators sponsored a bill to regulate nite clubs in New Haven,  but Toni Harp was not among them.  In 2013, legislation to regulate illegal dirtbikes in New Haven came up, and again Toni Harp was nowhere to be seen.  Where has Toni Harp been on real issues that effect public safety in New Haven?  Strangely silent.

posted by: Stylo on October 28, 2013  9:21am

Columbine and all those other scenarios are so ridiculously rare compared to the rampant shootings in our inner cities. Also, these kids in the inner cities aren’t necessarily mentally ill like the Sandy Hook shooter. They’re desperate, they grew up in broken households, they entered into a culture of violence (gangs). Otherwise they’re probably perfectly capable young men who were swayed in the wrong direction.

No one is saying all poor people are gunslinging, violent delinquents. Many are wonderful people that unfortunately have to live in fear. Poverty and drugs tend to breed violence. It happens all over the world, with all races. To say it’s racist is a little racist yourself.

And no one is saying middle class kids aren’t selling drugs. But they’re also not killing each other in droves over rivalries, turf wars, or other disagreements as is happening in our inner cities. Because they’re selling drugs as extra income, not a way of life.

You can ignore the root of the problem all you want, and it will continue forever.

posted by: ELMCITYPROF on October 28, 2013  10:36am

What’s most interesting (and in fact disturbing) about your post is the suggestion that the shooters at Sandy Hook, Columbine, etc were mentally ill and therefore have a different level of accountability. It’s even more disturbing that when acts of violence like Virginia Tech, Aurora, the Sikh temple shooting, etc happen the immediate response is to find an excuse to explain the shooter’s actions rather than addressing the culture of hatred and violence they may have been exposed to. New Haven nightclub shootings result from moral failings but Columbine doesn’t? Give me a break.

Millions of dollars have poured into Newtown in order to help the survivors deal with the intense trauma they have suffered by having their innocence shattered. That is a laudable and appropriate response. But if we accept your premise that violence is more common in “inner cities,” then are we really surprised that children who grow up seeing violence on an everyday basis replicate what they see? Do we not question how that exposure may stunt the emotional development of those children? Do we not see a need to intervene by channeling resources into such communities that can help young people develop alternative coping skills so they value their own lives while respecting others? Where the donations to help the families of those shooting victims? Where are the legislators who want to champion rather than chastise those families?

When you grow up in a society that tells you your life has little meaning, it’s no surprise that you don’t value the lives of others. perhaps rather than pontificating on message boards people could actually TALK to those young people who are most affected. TALK to young people in New Haven who will tell you that murder only seems to attract collective outrage and support when it happens in certain communities.

posted by: TheMadcap on October 28, 2013  11:09am

@Sam T

Poverty may not be why people buy drugs, but it is a driving factor why people sell drugs. Even in the suburbs or wealthier parts of New Haven, I doubt there’s a large ratio of people with well paying jobs also selling drugs on the side. There’s a reason there’s not turf wars or murders in say Branford over drug sales.

“So funny how we forget about Columbine, Sandy Hook, et al….those kids were middle class…what about the kids who brutally murdered the two Dartmouth professors, and lest we forget Timothy Komisarjesky….that horrible animal..”

You’re talking about outliers that you only know of because they were huge news stories. Those weren’t normal violent crime, those were people who snapped and went completely crazy.(and the fact the country only focuses on violent crime when some crazy person shoots up a suburb is in itself a problem. 8-9,000 people will be murdered in the US this year, only 80-100 of them will be from rampage killers) I mean New Haven has more murders yearly than the rest of the towns in New Haven county put together, despite the other towns collectively having around 6x the population of New Haven. Even in New Haven, the violent crime rates of Westville, the Cove, Fair Haven Heights, East Rock, Wooster Square and Quinnipiac Meadows are all quite low. Violent crime is very poverty stricken.

posted by: Stylo on October 28, 2013  11:15am


Finally, some logic in this discussion!

posted by: robn on October 29, 2013  2:36pm


Of our 130,000 citizens, 30% (or 39,000) live in poverty. The last big homicide year was 2011 and there were 34 homicides. It may not be true but assume for a second that each of those murders was committed by a NH resident living in poverty. That means that in 2011, 38,966 citizens living in poverty DIDN’T commit murder.