A Crown Street police blitz in response to last week’s gunfight led to arrests and citations over the weekend.
Police arrested a second man Saturday in connection with the Sept. 19 gunfight, which left two people with non-life-threatening wounds. Eighteen-year-old Cornell Tucker is currently being held on a $1 million bond and will be charged with six crimes, including assault, unlawful discharge of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit, police said Sunday.
According to state judicial records, Tucker has also not yet entered a plea for two misdemeanors: resisting arrest and criminal trespassing.
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Saturday also marked the second day of “Operation Nightlife,” an initiative by the New Haven Police Department in response to the gunfight to increase downtown security and crack down on fire code and liquor law violations. On Friday night, the police made five arrests for disorderly conduct and broke up two fights, NHPD spokesman Joe Avery said. They also seized two fake IDs and reported 10 requests for medical services. And members of the fire marshal’s office and the state liquor control department searched downtown venues for small violations, such as extreme noise levels, said Dan Bernstein, the general manager of Black Bear Saloon.
Bartenders, managers and owners interviewed at four bars on Crown Street welcomed the enhanced police presence over the weekend, but they also characterized it as excessive. They added that the recent shooting is the exception, not the rule, in a neighborhood where they feel safe at night. And some club owners expressed concern that the large number of officers was unsustainable or might require an additional financial burden for local businesses.
“Of course it’s effective — but it’s bad for business,” Bernstein said. “A select few clubs, which don’t have adequate security and which cater to an urban crowd, are ruining it for the rest of us.”
Avery did not respond to a request for comment Sunday afternoon.
Patrick Hogan, the owner of Kelly’s Restaurant and Bar, said that he fully supported the clampdown, adding that he didn’t notice a decrease in the number of people out at night and he was glad that residents weren’t deterred from the area. Still, Hogan added that he doesn’t think there is a need for the large number because it was an “isolated incident.” Another restaurant owner agreed.
“Obviously the shooting is very sensational, but that’s just a few people causing problems. I don’t think it’s a trend,” said Frank Patrick, the owner of BAR restaurant on Crown Street. “Our business has been here for 19 years. On a given Saturday night, there are thousands of people out. I’ve always felt safe.”
Ward 7 Alderwoman Frances “Bitsie” Clark, who called Operation Nightlife a police “blitz,” added that it was a success this weekend because residents were not deterred from attending Saturday’s event in the downtown gallery Artspace.
Doug Hausladen ’04, who heads a downtown neighborhood group, said people who live in the nearby residential area were pleased that police were addressing even small infractions. On Friday night, officers wrote up 70 parking violations and stopped 32 vehicles, Avery said.
Close to 2 last Sunday morning, police responded to a call to the corner of College and Crown streets in New Haven’s busy downtown entertainment district, where they say a gunman fired at New Haven resident Ricky Hargett, 19, but missed, instead hitting Alfred Smith, 22, and Eric Evans, 19 — both also New Haven residents. The gunman then allegedly opened fire on police, ending in a gunfight in which a total of 30 shots were fired, as thousands left bars and restaurants nearby.
On Friday, police arrested the first suspect in connection with the shooting, Cadell Harris, 26, after he walked into a local hospital with a bullet wound. Harris has been charged with at least seven crimes, including assault on a police officer, illegal possession of a pistol and unlawful discharge of a weapon.