Club violence continues at Owl’s Nest

The latest instance of nightclub violence in the Elm City, a problem that has plagued the city throughout 2013, has left one man in serious condition.

Anna Mariotti, the city’s public information officer, issued a press release at 1:59 p.m. on Sunday saying that the victim, 37-year-old Cassine Dingle of East Haven, was shot at the Owl’s Nest — a bar located about two miles from Yale’s campus on Tour Avenue. Police arrived shortly after the shooting at 12:29 a.m. Police have not named a suspect for the shooting, which is the eleventh to happen around New Haven nightclubs and bars in 2013.

“Upon arrival, officers located the victim … [who had suffered] multiple gunshot wounds to his body,” Mariotti said in the release. “Dingle was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital and was listed in serious condition. Detectives continue to investigate the shooting.”

According to a 2006 article by the Hartford Courant, Dingle was “a felon with a long criminal record,” and was convicted of illegal possession of a firearm in November 2006. The article also said that Dingle jumped off a 15-foot-high platform on a Hartford courthouse immediately after this conviction, likely in an attempted escape or suicide.

Court documents from the United States Court of Appeals show that the victim in the recent shooting was previously charged with the illegal possession of a firearm after an incident that took place outside of Jack or Better Bar on Oct. 27, 2006.

The documents showed that, in the early morning hours of that day, a man approached New Haven Police Department officer Frank Canace saying that Dingle had robbed him at gunpoint. Officers eventually found Dingle, who was resisting arrest when a gun fell from his waistband. Dingle contested charges of wrongful possession on trial.

When he was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, Dingle had to his name a long criminal record; he was subject to the Armed Career Criminal Act, a federal law that enforces harsher sentences ranging from 15 years to life in prison for felons who commit crimes while armed. He was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison.

“An official said that Dingle appeared to dive headfirst over the rail and land in a sitting position in the lobby of the courthouse annex,” the article said. “He was taken to Hartford Hospital, but a spokeswoman could provide no information on his condition.”

Dingle testified on trial that he was justified in possessing the firearm since he had been robbed by Charles Pringle, the man who set police on Dingle in the first place. The jury, however, rejected Dingle’s claim, and the district court determined that Dingle qualified as an armed career criminal based upon his three convictions for assault under Connecticut law.

The Owl’s Nest has had a history of problems, both violent and nonviolent. In 2010, the NHPD issued a press release about an incident in which a handgun was reportedly drawn. In September 2012, the bar failed to meet city cleanliness standards, receiving a failing score of 77 on an inspection conducted by New Haven health officials.

In recent weeks, both the NHPD and Mayor John DeStefano Jr. have sought to curb such violence through an increased police presence around bars and nightclubs and plans for a six-part legislation plan imposing stricter safety and liquor standards on their operations.

“To not see the connection with the clubs is to misunderstand what is happening,” DeStefano said at an Oct. 28 press conference held two days after a shooting at the Key Club Cabaret, where the city’s fourth and most recent club-related homicide took place. “With these clubs … there’s an environment that contributes to the risk of the people who are in it or near it.”

The Armed Career Criminal Act was passed in 1984.

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