On Friday morning, workers at the College Street Devil’s Gear bike shop were shocked to learn that Mitchell Dubey, the shop’s service manager, musician and bike enthusiast, had been murdered in his home the night before.
Dubey was shot in his home Thursday evening, after working 12 days in a row at the shop. The New Haven Police Department responded at 10:02 p.m. Thursday to a report of a shooting at 29 Bassett St., said NHPD Spokesperson Joseph Avery, and officers found Dubey with a gunshot wound to the chest. Dubey, 23, was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Police have launched a homicide investigation. Coworkers and friends said they will remember Dubey as a dependable friend and employee.
“[Dubey] was rock solid reliable,” Devil’s Gear manager David Kahn said. “Even if he was going through tough times, even if he was tired, if a customer needed him he would step in without hesitance and without anything but a genuine desire to help people.”
Dubey’s death, the first Caucasian homicide in at least two years in the city, brings New Haven’s murder count this year to 10. His murder followed a macabre weekend, during which at least five shootings and three other gun-related crimes left one dead and four injured. While Dubey’s murder is atypical because he has no criminal record, his death marks the fifth homicide in March alone; this time last year the Elm City’s total murder count stood at six.
While preliminary police information suggested Dubey might have been the victim of a “home-invasion robbery,” the incident did not appear to be a random act of violence, Avery said. He did not elaborate further as the investigation, conducted by both the NHPD Major Crimes Unit and Robbery Unit, is still in its early stages.
Sgt. Tony Reyes told WTNH the culprit knocked on the door and forced his way into Dubey’s house, adding that five others were also in the building at the time of the shooting.
Earlier in the week, police responded to a separate robbery at Dubey’s address that included the theft of his computer and other electronics.
When asked if the burglary and Dubey’s murder might be connected, Reyes told WTNH there was no way to determine if there is link at present.
“Obviously we’re looking into all of that but there’s nothing to indicate that right now,” he said.
Kahn said what shocked him most were the parties involved in the shooting. Homicides typically occur between people who know each other, he explained, so for a stranger to shoot Dubey is “really incomprehensible.”
But for Kahn and other staff at Devil’s Gear who worked alongside Dubey, the particulars of his death are far outweighed by the emotional impact of his loss.
“We’re totally heartbroken,” Kahn said. “We’re family in here, and it feels like we lost a brother.”
Kahn recounted hearing the news of Dubey’s death from store-owner Matthew Feiner on Friday morning, saying it was the first time he had ever received news that was “literally unbelievable.” He called his staff to notify them of Dubey’s death, and it was only then that it really sank in, he added.
Dubey moved to New Haven from Los Angeles three years ago and traveled with a band, in which he was a “bass player, a guitar player, saxophone, trumpet,” Feiner said. More recently, he was part of the New Haven indie band The Flaming Tsunamis.
At the bike shop, his contribution went far beyond the role of service manager, which Kahn said others could have only done to a “competent degree.”
As well as overseeing the quality of repairs the store conducts, Dubey also instructed a mechanics training class that taught customers how to repair their own flat tires and install a new chain and cassettes, among other things, Kahn said. He added that Dubey’s loss would leave a “huge hole” in the store’s operations.
Customers at the store Sunday recalled Dubey as “a man who could fix anything.” New Haven resident Clark Stafford, 25, said he would always remember Dubey’s level of engagement when giving advice on the repair of Stafford’s bicycle.
“It was like he lived bikes — he just knew it all,” Stafford said. “And somehow, I don’t know, he could make you know and care too.”
About 50 members of the city’s bicycle community came together Friday evening for the first of Elm City Cycling’s monthly Critical Mass rides, which was dedicated by organizers in Dubey’s honor.
Before the ride began, Feiner stood on the fountain around the flagpole on the New Haven Green, the New Haven Register reported, and announced that the ride should be carried on as normal.
“Mitchell wouldn’t want us to be sad,” he said, before breaking into tears.
A memorial service for Mitchell Dubey took place at The Devil’s Gear at 5 p.m. Sunday evening.
In addition, the Flaming Tsunamis, a local band whose members were close friends of Dubey’s, will be hosting a benefit concert in his honor April 3 at the Madison Arts Barn in Madison, Conn. Attendees are asked to make a $10 minimum donation and proceeds will go toward the costs of Dubey’s funeral, according to an online listing.
Everett Rosenfeld contributed reporting.