Was Year’s 1st Murder Victim The Main Target?

“Tuggy” Brown breathed his last breath in a St. Raphael’s hospital bed, losing his life thanks to a bullet shot to his head at close range during an evening run to a Newhallville chicken joint.

Brown, a 24-year-old whose first name is William and who lived in Hamden, is the city’s first homicide victim of the year. His murder mirrors 23 of 2010’s 24 murders, and the 12 murders the year before that: a black-on-black crime.

Two men approached Brown and his friend Adrian Redmond outside Crown Fried Chicken on Dixwell Avenue in New Haven’s Newhallville neighborhood around 9:45 p.m. last Tuesday. Brown and Redmond had gone to the store to “get cigarettes and a drink” when the two men approached their car, according to a police report concerning the incident.

Thomas MacMillan PhotoOne of those two men had an ongoing beef with Redmond (pictured), according to several people familiar with the case. It’s not clear what the beef was over. “I am at the end of my rope,” one of the men allegedly said. Then one of the two men fired shots into the car from the driver’s side. Redmond, the passenger, ran. One of the shots hit Redmond in the left elbow; he’s currently recovering from the injury. Another shot hit Brown, the driver, in the head, at close range.

Brown was kept on life-support at the Hospital of St. Raphael. At 6:42 p.m. Sunday, he was pronounced dead.

Earlier, on Friday, police had arrested a 19-year-old Hamden man in connection with the shooting and charged him with first-degree assault. Police are now upgrading the charge to murder. He has been in custody since Friday.

Police assembled the case last week through numerous interviews with witnesses and with cooperation from the Hamden police department. Detectives Wayne Bullock and David Zaweski pieced the case together with help from Detective Nicole Natale and Officers William Gargano, Angela Augustine-Daye, and Mike Mastropetre, as well as the Hamden cops.

From the beginning the investigation centered on two Hamden men who hang out regularly at the Newhallville corner of Goodrich and Butler and go by the street names “Bolo” and “Tank,” according to a police report written by Det. Bullock. One of them apparently had the beef with Adrian Redmond. Bolo allegedly carried the weapon and fired the shots.

The cops’ first break came when they ended up in a Pond Street apartment where Tank spends time. Armed with a search warrant, they found marijuana and, inside a “fireproof portable safe,” ziplock baggies and a scale, according to the police report. They arrested Tank on charges related to possessing drug paraphernalia.

Numerous witnesses helped the cops place Bolo and Tank at the shooting scene and, eventually, taking part in it, according to the report. Redmond was largely uncooperative with police; “Redmond told us that if he were made to testify, then he would recant would he told us,” Det. Bullock wrote.

“Chill, Y’All”

On Friday at his home on a quiet snow-filled street in Hamden, Redmond offered a partial take on what happened in a conversation with the Independent.

Reached Saturday, Brown’s sister disputed Redmond’s story.

Redmond answered the door Friday in hospital socks, Air Jordan slides, blue pajamas, and a black Columbia fleece zipped over his heavily bandaged arm.

Redmond, who’s 25, is a licensed barber. He works at his mom’s Dixwell Avenue hair salon. Both he and Brown have criminal records.

Here’s what Redmond said happened:

“I was going to get some chicken for my daughter,” Redmond said. He was in the passenger seat of an Acura Legend, driven by 24-year-old Brown, whom he’s known for 10 years. They pulled up outside Crown Fried Chicken, at 771 Dixwell Ave., at about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Two masked men came out of the restaurant. One had a gun. It looked like a .38. They headed right for the driver’s side window.

“I’m at the end of my ropes. I don’t care about life anymore,” one of the men said, according to Redmond.

“I was trying to tell Will to pull off,” Redmond said. “I knew something was not right.” But it was too late; the gun started blazing. The man fired six or seven shots.

“They wanted us dead,” Redmond said. “They wanted us gone, basically.”

Redmond bailed out of the car and started running. He was sure he’d been hit multiple times. He ran and called an ambulance.

Redmond declined to speak about why the men would have targeted him and his friend. He said only that it was probably “jealousy.”

“We’re popular names,” he said. Others may have resented them, he said. “When you’re stuck in the dark all day,” you grow jealous.

According to a person close to the investigation, Brown was not the intended target of the shooting.

Redmond spent two days in the hospital. He said the doctors told him he was lucky. The bullet missed a major nerve. Getting shot in the elbow may have blocked a bullet headed towards his torso.

“They were aiming for chest and up,” Redmond said. “I’m here for a reason.”

Brown was not so fortunate. Redmond said he took a bullet through the forehead and was hooked up to life support.

While he hadn’t opened his eyes, Redmond said he’s sure his friend knew when loved ones are around him. He would start breathing faster. His eyes would tear up, his hands move, Redmond said.

Meanwhile, Redmond said, he continues to fear for his own life and family.

“It’s like a huge nightmare,” he said. He said he feels nervous all the time now. “I didn’t want to come to the door.”

He said his mother has been encouraging him to move down south, where he might be safer, with his fiancee and 2-year-old daughter.

There was a knock at the front door; his fiancee and daughter entered. From his chair, Redmond bent down to kiss 2-year-old Maddy, who waddled around contentedly, sucking on a pacifier.

As Redmond hugged his child, his friend remained in critical condition in the hospital.

For now, Redmond said, “he’s still breathing.”

On Saturday, Brown’s sister, who asked that her name not be used, said that Redmond’s story of what happened is not accurate. She declined to name any inaccuracies, beyond saying that his story has changed several times.

“The story that was given to you is not the same story that was told to me, my mother, my sister, or my brother’s friend, or the police,” she said. “And it’s a tangled web that he is weaving.”

She spoke of her brother as peaceful and beloved.

“Everybody loved my brother,” she said. “He was known for his personality, for the way he dressed, for his style, for his flair.

“He was a mediator. He was the guy who would jump between two friends who were fighting and say, ‘Chill, chill y’all.’”

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posted by: anon on January 14, 2011  3:00pm

Violence is not at all a surprising outcome when we tax poor, working families with high payroll taxes, just in order to subsidize mortgage deductions for billionaires, subsidize $150,000 per year pensions for suburban landowners who happen to have worked for the city, and otherwise ensure that 90% of the nation’s wealth becomes owned by the top 1%. 

The New Haven Promise experiment won’t make a dent in this.  You can’t just tell kids to “go to college” when that just means more debt to them, resulting in more interest payments to ultra-rich banks and bank stockholders in the ‘burbs. 

Record profits for banks just announced today.

posted by: cityworker on January 14, 2011  3:49pm

Anon Do you really think this guy was shot by a disgruntled working family paying too much in taxes?

posted by: huh? on January 14, 2011  6:58pm

Anon, Poor working families pay little taxes .They also don’t often commit violent crimes.

posted by: in the game on January 14, 2011  8:20pm

Did you know you can go on ct.gov and look up peoples rap sheet for the last ten years?

And for the record, the image code I had to enter in order to post was “black 94”.  What’s up with that?

posted by: DKR on January 15, 2011  9:06am

can we get a close up of the tattoos and what they say and are of??  hmmmmmmmmm…...

posted by: Gener on January 15, 2011  9:45am

Very admirable of Redmond to actually share some information of the crime, unlike most of the cowards involved in New Haven shootings.
Is it a coincidence that somebody was actually arrested this time?

posted by: Cedarhillresident on January 15, 2011  11:57am

I agree with Gener. Healing and change starts with communication. It takes a lot to be this open. (ps fantastic story Tom)

More honest history of why they may have been jealous could help. But without really knowing it sounds like he got on with his life and it is coming together.

I am sorry for his lose.
Redmond sometime things happen for a reason, it is what you do with them that matters. Make a difference in the world for your friend.

Thank you for sharing.

posted by: MCU Detective on January 15, 2011  1:21pm

To Gener:  Don’t give Redmond any credit, he is not being truthful.  The details he affords are lies, and he told the detectives he would not speak to them because he didn’t want to “snitch.” The detectives made this case without his help, and he is still not cooperating.  He is not doing the “right thing” so don’t give hime credit for that.

posted by: People are Crazy on January 16, 2011  1:30am

Violence continues because there is a lack of faith and positive influences for inner city youth. Some of you before you post need to think about the ignorant stuff that you’re saying. “Close up of the tattoos, hmmm” IGNORANT. I have 4 tattoos, 3 in visible places, I have never ran the streets, do not hang out with people who do so, do not go to bars, NEVER, EVER tried ANY type of drug. I graduated with my B.S. and am currently enrolled in my 2nd year of graduate school. DO not judge a book by its cover, and even if the 1st chapter isn’t good, it could very well get better the deeper you get into it, so who cares if you can check 10 yrs of criminal records. Take a note: This crime has been committed, over and done with. So, how about offering some food for thought to the next angry child that is facing this road, rather than giving them an excuse to fulfill society’s low expectations.
PS. I hope some of the negative comments were not posted by individuals with children, a great deal of the crimes committed in New Haven are committed or involves, youth that are coming in from decent neighborhoods trying to fit in….. My contribution of positivity, take your children to dinner and a movie and get to know them.

posted by: Nadine on January 16, 2011  10:28pm

May God Bless & keep You!

posted by: B Kev'FLS on January 16, 2011  10:31pm

@People are Crazy, I concur! I’m loving the statement; “PS. I hope some of the negative comments were not posted by individuals with children, a great deal of the crimes committed in New Haven are committed or involves, youth that are coming in from decent neighborhoods trying to fit in….. My contribution of positivity, take your children to dinner and a movie and get to know them.” We must first take responsibility for our own, then & only then can we effect change outside of our homes! One of the main issues I have with the fools that post this trash, is the unwillingness to stand behind it. They are the ones who usually use false names or the more popular anonymous, “Cowards!!!” One of My Grand Mothers favorite quotes was; “Small Minds do & say small S**t!!” 

Before You speak, why don’t You come out & spend some time on the Frontline?!

      Kevin Edwards, FLS

posted by: anon on January 17, 2011  10:27am

The sad part is that some of the negative commenters may be new haven cops.

posted by: sherri47 on January 17, 2011  10:40am

R.I.P William tuggy Brown…I’m so upset at what happened to you… No one deserves to die like you did.. But justice will be served.. Luv you and miss you so much!!!

posted by: streever on January 17, 2011  6:08pm

I’m really glad to see the community stepped forward and helped the NHPD. Nice work on the quick arrest.

So sad to see another senseless death in our city.

Paul, I think it is really inappropriate for the officers to comment on this case, especially suggesting that anyone is guilty of anything.

True or false, they have proper channels for releasing information, and I don’t think that people who self-identify as New Haven officers should be making statements they would not be allowed to make through the proper channels.

They have a code of conduct and ethics that would prevent them from making insinuations. I don’t think they should side step it.

posted by: A parent on January 17, 2011  11:01pm

I have some questions. He tried to get chicken at 9:45 p.m. for his daughter. Redmond is 25. One daughter is two years old (we do not know about another, the article does not say so).

Why was his daughter hungry at 9:45 p.m.?
Why was she - if he referred to the two year old - not in bed?
Could it be there is either bent truth (why he was at that place at 9:45 pm) or bad parenting?

posted by: Blake Hawkesworth on January 18, 2011  11:51am

What proper channels Streever?  The PD management at this time is dysfunctional and the Information Officer is just a mouthpiece for the mayor.  Officers make insightful comments and I applaud them for listing their true names.

posted by: CONCERNED on January 18, 2011  1:23pm


posted by: streever on January 18, 2011  2:42pm

Blake, I really don’t think officers should write some of the things I’ve seen on the NHI site, things like, “If citizens don’t respect us… just try dialing 911 in an emergency and then you’ll learn.” Or, insinuating that someone is a gang member/involved in crime.

Courts decide guilt. Not commentators, not cops, but a cops word carries special weight—special meaning. Police officers have a lot more influence and authority than I think many of them realize, and I think it is inappropriate for them to exercise their influence/authority if they aren’t clearly representing their department.

If the officers commenting here are using real names, and authorized to make these statements on behalf of the department, that is very different.

posted by: Donna Brown on January 18, 2011  8:00pm

I am the mother of the victim William J.Brown. No one can understand the pain that I am feeling. This attack on my son was brutal and senseless. I would greatly appreciate that you respect me and my family at this time of sorrow.

posted by: Ex-NHPD on January 18, 2011  8:52pm

Streever claims current NHPD cops are making false claims/insinuations in their posts.

If a cop did post something about the lack of respect they get and how they might not respond to 911 as well, then that is wrong, inappropriate, and should not be embraced.

On January 15, MCU Detective posted that Redmond was not cooperating.  That was confirmed in this article.

Streever said cops are posting claims that people are criminals; this article states both shooting victims have criminal records. 

As far as the question about the tattoo; that is a legitimate question.  Many criminals and gang members adorn themselves with tattoos that recognize their gang membership as well as their favorite weapons, crimes, philosophy of life. 

Maybe Streever should give the cops posting here a little credit that they have some insight into what is going on in the neighborhoods of New Haven.  They have a pretty good handle on who is a criminal and who is in a gang.

There may be an error in recognizing the cops who helped solve this case.  Did you mean to cite CHARLEY Gargano or William Gargone?  I’m betting it is Charley—-he has been working the Ville for year,  knows all the players,  and does a great job.

The Independent may think they are doing the noble thing by not naming those people arrested/charged.  But by quoting police reports and affidavits and using streetnames/nicknames, many people reading the articles now know who those people are.

posted by: Ex-NHPD on January 18, 2011  10:33pm

That should have been YEARS, not year, for Gargano in the Ville.

posted by: Morris Cove Mom on January 19, 2011  2:14pm

@anon, you are incorrect about everything.  You can eliminate almost all payroll taxes by filing your W-4 as EXEMPT.
@A Parent, you are right on.  Some people feed their kids on different schedules because they work 3rd shift.  Some do because they don’t know any better.  If you want to see infants and toddlers up at all hours of the night, go to Wal-Mart on Route 80 after 10PM, any night of the week.

I can’t understand who could hate someone so much, and over what, that they would come after them with a gun.  Maybe it is just the way I was brought up, but if you can’t stand someone, you ignore them, cut them out of your life.  Maybe guns are too easy to get, yes.  But our society seems to have no impulse control, and no sense of consequence.  If you can’t stand someone, avoid them.  That way you will also keep yourself out of trouble.

posted by: Concerned Resident on January 20, 2011  3:24pm

First and foremost my heart and prayers are with the family,everyone knows their birth date,but no one knows their death date. I read some of the comments and the ones that stood out to me the most were the ones that were negative. Overall someone has lost their life and a family has lost their son, brother,cousin and friend. I am a mom,and this is a pain that I can identify with. Regardless of where they were or what they were doing the BOTTOM LINE is ANOTHER LIFE IS LOST! His mom posted and stated that everyone please respect her family at this time of grief…I will ask that any of you do the same,,,No one is exempt for losing someone..So why not be prayerful instead of prey-ful.My prayers are with the families as well as with those who appear to not have an understanding that a life was loss regardless… To the family stay blessed and encouraged and I ask that you turn to God and not away from Him in your time of sorrow. I know that it is easy to get angry at those around you and in some cases at God…but I am confident that He will keep you, He has never failed me again stay encouraged.