New Haven police officers fired several rounds at two suspects they say reached for a firearm near the corner of Prospect Street and Edwards Avenue Monday afternoon, injuring one of the men, New Haven police Lt. Herman Badger said.
Initial reports suggest the confrontation began with a road rage incident in Fair Haven, near Clinton Avenue, at about 5:30 p.m., Badger said. The driver of a green Cadillac told police a man in a silver car displayed and possibly fired a gun at him. The Cadillac driver called police and followed the silver car to Science Hill, where the car was stopped by police and the shooting took place, Badger said.
Police arrested Sean Johnson, 24, and Timothy Ferguson, 25, both of New Haven, for a number of crimes, including criminal attempt to commit assault in the first degree, criminal possession of a firearm and interfering with police. Johnson faces an additional count of reckless endangerment, New Haven police Sgt. Jo Schaller said.
No Yale students were involved or injured in the confrontation and city police are handling the investigation, University police dispatcher Steve Gambrelle said.
Johnson and Ferguson showed initial compliance when pulled over by two police officers, and may even have started to get out of the car, but then stopped cooperating, Badger said.
“They reached for something believed to be a gun,” Badger said.
Badger said police then opened fire, with initial indications suggesting both officers discharged their firearms, Badger said. Ferguson was shot and was in stable condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital Monday afternoon. A gun which did not belong to the police officers was found at the scene, Badger said, but it is not clear if the suspects fired it.
The men drove away in their car and were finally apprehended at Thompson Street, Badger said.
Ethan Hutt ’05 said he and a friend were running on Science Hill towards Prospect when a woman approached them in a car.
“This lady slams on her brakes and said, ‘Don’t run up that way. There’s shooting up there,’” Hutt said.
Hutt said he saw about a half dozen police cars pass him on the way to Prospect and Edwards.
Police found five spent shell casings lying on Prospect, and will try to determine which, if any, of the casings came from the gun of the suspects, Badger said.
Vehicles were not allowed on Prospect Street between Edwards Avenue and Sachem Street and pedestrians were diverted from the immediate vicinity of the incident late Monday afternoon.
New Haven police Lt. Patrick Redding, the officer in charge of internal affairs for the department, said the officers were justified in discharging their firearms.
“The lieutenant thought his life was in danger,” Redding said.
The names of the officers involved in the shooting were not being released Monday night, Badger said.
One female police lieutenant was injured when her car was broadsided during the chase of the suspects, Badger said, though he declined to say whether her car was hit by the suspects, by police or by another vehicle. Badger also refused to give the lieutenant’s name or condition.
Police were taking statements from the suspects and victims of the road rage Monday, Badger said.