Cops make arrests in 3 murder cases

New Haven Police have made arrests in three murders this summer, but at 16, there have been more murders in New Haven this year than in 2009.

The most recent murder occurred Aug. 14. Police found the victim, Javier Cosme, 21, of Bridgeport, dead from a gunshot wound in a parking lot near the Gotham Citi nightclub on Crown Street around 3:40 a.m. Less than 12 hours after the body was found, police arrested three suspects for the murder.

Two other fatal shootings occurred this summer, and NHPD officers have made arrests in connection with both.

While on a routine patrol in the Hill neighborhood on July 30, police found Michael Holland, 19, suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest, which shortly afterward proved fatal.

According to New Haven Police Department spokesman Joe Avery, information from witnesses to the shooting pointed detectives to a suspect and his possible location. Upon raiding the location, also in the Hill neighborhood, the NHPD SWAT team located the suspect, Darius Jackson, 18, and detectives charged him with Holland’s murder. Jackson has denied involvement, according to police documents.

On June 22, Marquise Baskin, the son of a city firefighter, was shot dead in the city’s Newhallville neighborhood. One week later, the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force charged Middletown, Conn., resident Jermaine Scott, 30, with Baskin’s murder.

NHPD officers have made arrests in four of the 16 murders this year.

Bishop Theodore L. Brooks Sr., a black community leader and member of the New Haven Board of Police Commissioners, said the arrests speak to the leadership of the city’s new police chief, Frank Limon, whotook the post in March. Brooks said Limon is keeping the community involved in formulating and executing police strategy.

“Limon and the assistant chiefs have been very active — proactive,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “They realize the need for help from the community.”

The New Haven state’s attorney’s office has sealed the arrest warrant affidavits in the summer’s first two murders, Limon has said that information and tips from city residents are the key tools police officers have for identifying and locating suspects, but that a culture of not cooperating with police prevails in some communities of the city. To change that culture, Limon created a new police unit charged with developing street-level intelligence on New Haven’s career criminals.

“The community should be outraged,” Limon said, standing at the site of a June shooting of an 11-year old boy. “We would like for [witnesses] to come forward and give us some information.”

In 2009, there were 12 murders that fell within the NHPD’s jurisdiction, and the city had its lowest overall crime rate since 1990 when the NHPD started keeping official records.

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