A 31-year-old Yale School of Medicine psychiatry resident said to have called himself the “Savior of Death” is disputing a police search of his home on Sunday in which the authorities seized about a dozen weapons, including two sniper rifles and two 12-gauge shotguns.
Without a warrant, NHPD officers searched the apartment of Robert Remington on Sunday night after arresting him at Dolci Piano Lounge at 932 State St earlier that night. Once police received counsel from the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office to search Remington’s home, they seized the weapons and charged Remington with two counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, the police report said.
Remington was also charged with carrying a pistol without a permit, illegal carrying of a firearm under the influence of drugs or alcohol and second-degree breach of peace, according to the arrest report.
His lawyer, John R. Williams of John R. Williams and Associates LLC, said Remington denies all allegations against him and will plead not guilty to all charges at a plea hearing this afternoon. Williams added that the state’s attorney’s office adviser, inspector Robert Lawlor, did not have a law degree.
He said there is a “very strong argument” that the search violated the Fourth Amendment.
“If my analysis is correct, that will lead to a very [large] reduction of charges, and I’ll see what we got,” Williams said Wednesday.
Stating that the investigation was ongoing, an NHPD spokesman declined to comment about the specifics of the case. Lawlor could not be reached for comment, and the state’s attorney’s office did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
Police arrived at the lounge after a bartender, Lauren Proto, told emergency dispatchers that a drunk Remington was saying he “likes to hurt people and wants to kill people,” according to the arrest report.
NHPD officer Renee Forte wrote in her report that police interviewed another bartender, Christopher Bennett, who said the Yale physician “began yelling that he ‘loved violence’ and that he wanted to ‘kill everyone.’ ”
Remington “stated that he was the ‘Savior of Death,’ ” Bennett said, according to Forte’s report. “He was a part of a ‘revolution.’ ”
Remington denies the report: “He doesn’t remember saying anything at all weird,” Williams said. And although Remington did drink two drinks, as the report indicates, Williams said Remington disputes that he was drunk.
Police decided to visit Remington’s home because they were alarmed by his “angry and delusional rants,” Forte said. Police also found receipts for a sniper rifle in his wallet, she added. When police arrived at the house on Mechanic Street, a sergeant contacted Lawlor, who said that a warrantless search would be fine because of the “public safety concern,” according to Forte’s report.
At the house, the police seized nine weapons — including two shotguns, two assault rifles and two sniper rifles — and ammunition for each. The seized weapons led to the two charges of illegal possession of an assault weapon, police said. The two charges will be considered as class D felonies — if a judge finds Remington guilty, he would face up to five years of prison or $5,000 in fines for each. But if a judge deems the search illegal, the two charges will be dropped.
(Remington’s other three charges, however, could not be dropped based on the legality of the search.)
On the weapons, Williams said Remington “does have an interest in firearms.”
“He comes from the West,” he said. “I guess that comes with the territory.”
Williams added that Remington may have been unfamiliar with the state laws against assault weapons.
Williams declined a request to interview Remington, who was released Tuesday. He added that he did not know where his client was, but said that Remington was not at his home because police had seized his apartment keys, as well as his car keys and cell phone. Williams said he plans to file a motion today to have the keys and cell phone released. “He’s about homeless at this point,” Williams said.
Remington works with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder at the West Haven Veteran Affairs hospital. His positions with the hospital and the Medical School have not been compromised, Williams said, and officials at both institutions have been “supportive” of the resident.
But Remington is not allowed to see hospital patients until the trial is completed. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs did not return a request for comment Wednesday.