Few suspects in violent weekend

A weekend of violence in New Haven left two dead and sent three to the hospital, one of whom remains in critical condition, and most of the perpetrators are still at large.

Police are still seeking those responsible for one non-fatal double-shooting and two fatal shootings. They found this year’s seventh homicide victim just after midnight Saturday in the Dwight neighborhood. The victim, Kenneth Bagley, 31, of Hamden, was found slumped in the driver’s seat of his car, shot multiple times and barely alive. He died shortly after he was rushed to a local hospital.

Two other men were also shot Saturday morning across town in the Hill neighborhood. Police said one of the victims, Devaro Taylor, 20, was shot in the chest and is in critical condition. The other victim, Antuwan Washington, 23, was shot in the foot and was released from the hospital after his wound was treated.

Sunday afternoon, an unidentified 17 year-old suffered a life-threatening gunshot to the head in Newhallville, New Haven Police Department spokesman Joe Avery said in a statement. Police said they are investigating the incident.

Since October 2009, 13 men have been shot to death in New Haven, and police have not solved any of the murders. Six of the seven murders that occurred before February were in the Dixwell and Newhallville areas, while four of the six murders since February were in the Hill and Dwight neighborhoods. Many of the victims were black ex-cons who were shot execution style in the head.

In response to the violence, former New Haven Police Chief James Lewis said in January that police would be raiding residences in the affected areas to gather intelligence about the crimes.

Police conducted a sweeping raid Jan. 12 in Dixwell and Newhallville, which Lewis said produced valuable tips and information about possible suspects. At the time, police said there would be more raids of the same nature, and last week, NHPD detectives raided two Newhallville locations for narcotics. One of the raids was less than a block from where one of last year’s unsolved murders occurred.

New NHPD Chief Frank Limon, who is being sworn in this morning at City Hall, has been kept abreast of the intensifying violence. Today, he is expected to lay out his plan for combating gun violence in the city. At the present pace, there will be 32 murders in New Haven by the end of the year, a level of violence not seen since the early 1990s, when New Haven’s overall crime was more than double the current level.

So far, the only arrest in connection to the weekend violence was 41-year-old Kevin Wills of New Haven, who is charged with attacking an unarmed 15-year old girl. Just after midnight Saturday, the girl was walking in New Haven’s Fair Haven neighborhood when a man with a knife grabbed her and dragged her down a vacant building’s driveway, according to police.

The teenager managed to grab the knife and stab her attacker. The girl and her alleged assailant, Wills, then sought medical attention, and Wills was arrested at a nearby hospital on charges including kidnapping and assault.

The city’s crime rate in 2009 was the lowest in the 20 years since police began keeping official records.


  • Sara

    How about the litter, graffiti and dirt bike noise that makes certain New Haven neighborhoods completely unlivable? What about the hundreds of traffic injuries and deaths in New Haven? Unlike almost all of these shootings, those are totally random and many involve very young children.

    A few shootings per year, mostly among small gang groups who know each other, shouldn’t be the only priority of a police department with hundreds of cops.

    The department should focus on quality of life first, and reserve a small task force to clean up after the ex-cons and gangs who shoot one another.

    Trying to “police” murders and gangs doesn’t do anything except take police resources away from the types of quality of life policing activity that can prevent murders (and other crimes) in the first place by making neighborhoods into places that are worth citizens’ time, money and loyalty. This is a proven fact from other cities, so I’m not sure why New Haven isn’t taking a cue.

    This Chief’s new strategy sounds completely ineffective. Take a page from Chief Lewis and triple the number of traffic stops and gun pat-downs instead.

  • @Sara

    Yes, I agree: dirt-bike noise, not murder, is certainly the real scourge of New Haven. I’d gladly submit to random traffic stops and pat-downs so long as the cops let *those* people alone to fight to the death.


  • Good post, Sara.

    Yale will continue to suffer in competition with Princeton, Stanford Harvard etc. for the “best and the brightest” as long as New Haven is (or is perceived to be)a dangerous or undesirable place to live outside of a small core section.

  • Failboat

    I agree that gang-on-gang violence should not be the priority of the New Haven police. On the other hand, gang-on-gang violence inevitably spills over to the rest of the community.

    Just ask poor Mercutio.

  • Sarah, purple?

    Forget about graffiti and dirt bike noises.

    What about corrupt housing authority commisioners sitting on the board of a development corportaion/landlord (can you say conflict of interest?) that pockets the utility allowance checks of indigent section 8 tenants, with the help of an LCI employee who happens to be the brother of said commissioner? What of Yale’s own Bob Solomon, who was alerted to the issue yet did NOTHING.

    It all comes down to what is politically expedient to prosecute. Nothing new here.

    SOMEDAY the HUD IG will get around to investigating it… someday. It took 6 years for them to investigate the quarter million a year Lou West grounds keeping fraud scam (which Bob Solomon seems to also be complicit in) so it may we be decades before they bother to check out a few tenants being robbed of a measly few hundred dollars a month.

  • @Sarah, purple?

    Just a statement – When you make accusations and revelations please provide citations. I’m interested and waiting (in a basement).