Ghost Was Chilling — Then Shots Rang Out

Thomas Breen photoA day after city police chased and shot a 22-year-old man in the Hill, sections of Howard Avenue, Greenwich Avenue, and First Street were still encircled with yellow police tape and closed to car and pedestrian traffic as state police investigated the shooting.

“We heard a couple shots,” said Henry Alemo, who lives with Julissa Cedeno and their infant child next door to the three-family Greenwich Avenue house where state police officers focused their investigation on Wednesday morning and early afternoon. “We were ducking on the floor,” he recalled.

Around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, he and Julissa said they heard six or seven gun shots ring out near their apartment. They hit the floor and took cover. Alemo said he looked outside, and said he saw a swarm of police officers in his backyard.

Courtney Watrouse didn’t hear the shots from her home near the corner of Howard Avenue and Lamberton Street. But she did see two police officers chasing a man from the Sam’s gas station food store at the corner of Kimberly Avenue and Howard Avenue down Howard shortly before 5:45.

“The chase started from Sam’s on foot,” she said, “and they ran into the neighborhood.”

She said a dozen police cars showed up on the scene soon thereafter, and that the officers searched on Howard Avenue for the suspect. She said they found him in a bright pink house at 340 Howard Ave., near the corner of First Street and Howard. She said a whole bunch of police officers tackled the guy, and she could hear him screaming. She didn’t hear any gunshots, she said, but some of her neighbors did.

State police — who are investigating the incident, as is protocol in any “officer-involved shooting” — said undercover cops spotted a 22-year-old wanted man at 5:44 p.m. Tuesday near Lamberton Street. They chased him and caught him; he broke free and kept running. In a driveway, the man fired at the cops, and a cop fired back, hitting the man in the stomach. He kept fleeing, but officers eventually caught him and arrested him. (He went to the hospital for treatment of his wound and was reported in “critical but stable”  condition.) Police said they recovered a gun at the scene. Police Chief Anthony Campbell said officers involved in the incident were automatically placed on administrative leave, as is the protocol. (The cop who fired the gun had also been involved in a chase incident earlier in the day.)

Lorraine and Gloria, two Howard Avenue neighbors who declined to share their last names, said they were at their respective homes yesterday afternoon when they head two shots. Gloria went downstairs to the porch that overlooks Howard Avenue.

“My daughter said, ‘Mommy! Mommy! Come inside,” Gloria recalled.

“We were all very, very upset,” said Lorraine. She said she had been upstairs in her bedroom at the time, and heard four shots ring out from the direction of Greenwich Avenue.

“They did an excellent job,” she said about the city and state police securing the area and keeping residents safe.

Robin Brandt, who lives right next door to 340 Howard, was less sanguine in her assessment of Tuesday night’s shooting.

“I was scared to death,” she said as she slowly walked over to her car to head to a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s not safe in this neighborhood,” she said.

Ghost Was Chilling

Wearing a hoodie and dark sunglasses outside of the Gem Liquor Store on Lamberton Street on Wednesday midday, a man who identified himself as Ghost said he had been outside that very liquor store the night before when the chase and shooting happened.

“We were chilling,” he said. “I was drinking, and heard a couple shots. I heard two big shots.”

At Sam’s convenience store just up the block, Ali Alhamdan came in for his shift around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday. He had been working the counter yesterday afternoon, and recalled a man parking his bike outside of the store and coming inside before 6.

He said the man was in the store for only a minute.

“Then I heard this guy shout, ‘Oh shit!’” he said. And the man ran out of the store and down Howard Avenue towards City Point. Alhamdan thought the man must have stolen something, so he took a look out the back door. Soon thereafter, two undercover police officers ran through the same Hill-side entrance the suspect had arrived in, and exited through the same City Point-facing door the suspect had just left.

Hill Alder Dave Reyes, speaking from Gov. Ned Lamont’s inauguration in Hartford, said he spent five hours on Greenwich Avenue, First Street, and Howard Avenue Tuesday night talking with neighbors and serving as liaison between the police and the community. He said the suspect was shot in the stomach, and a firearm was confiscated at the scene, but, beyond that, he is waiting for the state police to wrap up their investigation of the officer-involved shooting to learn more about what happened.

He praised Sgt. Justin Marshall, who is serving as the acting top cop in the Hill after the recent retirement of Lt. Jason Minardi.

“The suspect with felony warrants resulted in an officer involved shooting,” Reyes wrote in an email to the Hill South Community Management Team listserv at 10:38 p.m Tuesday. “CT state police are at the scene investigating. A foot chase was in play from Greenwich into First Ave. No police officers were injured during the shooting.

“Chief Campbell and I did a brief on air interview with the media outlets, but as mentioned we don’t have all the needed information as the State is still conducting its investigation.

“As the investigation is going on, I am in constant communication with Sgt. Marshall and no matter what time if he has to call me he will, and I will send out another email which you all will see in the morning.

“I leave you with something that will probably keep me up tonight. An officer was shaken up over the shooting he hugged me and said, ‘Alder I thought today would’ve been the last time I kissed my kids’. As a dad that hit me really hard. 

“Hill South thank you for your understanding, and patience with this matter, and as I know something so will you.”

The state police’s public information officer did not respond to a request for comment by the publication time of this article.

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posted by: Tupac on January 9, 2019  5:45pm

Nice job Sgt Marshall, the officers involved in that shooting, and the rest of the NHPD. You guys continue to do what you do best, Police the streets. All this other bs surrounding you guys will work itself out. Outstanding job.

posted by: garyleader on January 10, 2019  8:57am

I’m a little concerned about giving all the praise to the police at this very moment. What about the residents, the children some witnessed a war in there neighborhood & no counseling put in place for them.  I really hope the suspects prints are on the gun & I’m sure there isn’t any body camera footage of all of this. Shameful, I think it’s important for undercover detectives to wear body cameras too for situations like this. Chief Campbell don’t send Yale child study out now! We praise the detective w/o the investigation complete, shameful! Wake up New Haven residents, Chief Campbell, AC Reyes & AC Rachael Cain need to go!

posted by: Tupac on January 10, 2019  10:07am

I’ll say it again, NICE JOB NHPD!!! a wanted man carrying a gun on the streets, taken off the streets! Hell of a job, keep up the good work officers!