Tag Archive: Crime

  1. Yale undergrad survives Colorado theater shooting

    Leave a Comment

    A Yale undergrad is among the survivors of a mass shooting at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo. early Friday morning. Though Ethan Rodriguez-Torrent ’13 was with two friends who were both shot and injured, he himself was not hit.

    “I’m fine; my friends are recuperating; and life will go on in roughly the same fashion as it did before this event,” Rodriguez-Torrent said in an email. He declined to comment further.

    Rodriguez-Torrent was on a cross-country bicycle trip with high school friend Stephen Barton, a 2012 graduate of Syracuse University, when they decided on Thursday to stop in at a midnight screening of the new Batman film. The 12:01 a.m. showing was sold out, so the two, along with another friend from the area, bought tickets for the 12:05 screening. They picked seats in the middle of the theater.

    When the theater filled with smoke and flashes of light about fifteen minutes into the movie, the three friends mistook the chaos for fireworks, according to the Los Angeles Times. In reality, a gunman had opened fire on the audience.

    Barton was hit in the neck and had shrapnel wounds on his face and right arm, but was able to run out of the theater through an emergency exit. Rodriguez-Torrent remained crouched in the theater with the other friend, who had been shot. The movie continued to play and there was gunfire on the screen. Rodriguez-Torrent told the Los Angeles Times that, from the floor, he could not tell if it was fake or real and that he recalled thinking: “I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die like this. I don’t want my friend to die.”

    When the movie stopped and the lights came on, Rodriguez-Torrent helped his friend stand up, and they made their way to the lobby via the emergency exit, still unsure whether the gunman had left.

    Twelve people were killed in the shooting, and 58 were injured, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    Rodriguez-Torrent posted to Facebook around 5:30 a.m. Colorado time Friday morning, confirming that he and Barton were OK. At around 7:30 p.m., he posted again.

    “Biked 80 miles, got shot at, and have been awake for 38 hours,” Rodriguez-Torrent wrote. “Time to crash, hard. All three of us are either fine or on the mend. Thanks for all the good wishes.”

    CORRECTION: July 21, 2012

    Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Stephen Barton’s brother was accompanying Barton and Ethan Rodriguez-Torrent ’13 on their cross-country bicycle trip.

  2. Nineteen-year-old man murdered in the Hill

    Leave a Comment

    A man was shot dead Friday evening in the Hill neighborhood, at the spot of a homicide a month earlier.

    The New Haven Police Department received reports of gunshots at Frank and West Streets at 11:05 p.m. When officers arrived, they found Robert Cirino, 19, with gunshot wounds in the chest and leg, according to department spokesman David Hartman. Cirino was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

    Cirino was killed at the same location of another homicide, the May 4 shooting death of 29-year-old Nathan Richardson. The NHPD’s Major Crimes Unit has launched an investigation into both cases, but thus far has made no arrests.

    The Elm City’s homicide count for 2012 now sits at seven.

  3. New Haven sees two murders in two days

    Leave a Comment

    The Elm City saw its second homicide in less than 24 hours when a woman was shot dead in Newhallville early Wednesday morning.

    New Haven Police Department officers responded to a ShotSpotter report of gunfire at 94 Shelton Ave. at 12:17 a.m. Wednesday, and found Ashley Armstrong, 20, seated in the driver’s seat of a Volkswagen with gunshot wounds to her head and neck, according to department spokesman David Hartman. Armstrong was taken to St. Raphael’s Hospital and pronounced dead at 12:37 a.m.

    Detectives from the NHPD’s Major Crimes Unit have launched an investigation and recovered evidence from a crime scene at 84 Shelton Ave. Hartman said no suspects have yet been identified.

    Armstrong’s murder followed the shooting death of 20-year-old Tyrell Trimble shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday. A masked gunman shot Trimble at Elm and Kensington Streets, near the Stop & Shop frequented by Yalies, before fleeing in a Chevrolet van.

    “We just lost another child of this city today to another gunshot wound,” NHPD Chief Dean Esserman told the New Haven Register on Tuesday. “It’s the same supermarket that I shop at and I’m not scared.”

    A witness said that a Chevrolet van with Pennsylvania plates fled the scene south on Orchard Street. Police later found the vehicle at Vine Street and Sylvan Avenue. Because of the proximity of the vehicle to Strong Elementary School, officials placed the school on lockdown for more than an hour.

    The two murders bring New Haven’s homicide count for 2012 up to five.

  4. City sees third homicide of 2012

    Leave a Comment

    The Elm City’s homicide count for 2012 rose to three Friday evening, after a man was shot dead in the Hill neighborhood.

    New Haven Police Department officers responded at 8:25 p.m. to a report of gunfire on Frank Street near West Street, where they found Nathan Richardson, 29, with a gunshot wound, according to department spokesman David Hartman. Paramedics took Richardson to Yale-New Haven Hospital and he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

    Latif Richardson, the victim’s father, told officers that he and his son had been walking along Frank Street toward Washington Avenue when they heard gunfire, adding that the two of them started running when Nathan collapsed to the ground, Hartman said.

    A stretch of Frank Street between West Street and Washington Avenue has been cordoned off and the NHPD’s Major Crimes Unit has launched an investigation. As of Friday evening, no suspects had been identified, Hartman said.

    The homicide is the city’s third of the year, after two men were killed within a three-day period in March. By this time last year, the city had seen 13 homicides, en route to a 20-year high 34 murders.

  5. Wang files “poetry and philosophy” in pre-trial hearings

    Leave a Comment

    Lishan Wang, the man accused of murdering a Yale doctor in 2010, made his 30th appearance in New Haven Superior Court on Tuesday, filing motions that the judge said amounted to “poetry and philosophy,” the Branford Eagle reported.

    During Tuesday’s pre-trial hearing, Wang filed a series of motions that included statements Judge Roland Fasano said could be seen as admissions of guilt. Pre-trial hearings in Wang’s case began in January, after 21 months of arguments over the defendant’s mental state and planned self-defense. Fasano has not yet set a date for trial.

    “These latest group of motions to a large degree are repetitious, irrelevant to charges filed and at times may be considered slanderous to others,” Fasano said to Wang, the Eagle reported. “You have to understand you are here for a legal process, for a trial. Poetry and philosophy are not relevant to this case.”

    Wang is charged with the murder of School of Medicine clinical fellow Vajinder Toor in Branford on April 26, 2010. Wang filed a motion to subpoena documents and information on Toor — the two worked together at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2008 — as part of a federal case he has launched against the medical center. In that motion, Wang labelled Toor’s conduct toward him as “malicious,” “disgusting,” “hurtful” and “evil.” Wang also filed a motion asking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate doctors at the Kingsbrook center.

    In addition, Wang addressed a series of poems and letters to Fasano in a bid to demonstrate the multifaceted personality of “the defendant.” In one of the poems, titled “I am a Different Species,” Wang wrote that “Injustice invigorates me like a trumpet / Calling for a march to the battlefield.”

    The theme of injustice appears in several of the legal motions Wang filed, according to the Eagle.

    Wang is charged with murder, carrying weapons in a motor vehicle, criminal attempt to commit murder, possession of a handgun with no permit and unlawful discharge of a firearm.

    In 2010, Wang allegedly shot Toor multiple times in the parking lot outside Toor’s Branford condominium, and attempted to shoot Toor’s wife, who survived unscathed. When police arrested Wang, they found three handguns, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and Google Maps directions to Toor’s home in his vehicle.

    Wang is set to appear in court at 2 p.m. on May 29.

  6. NHPD officers arrested for off-duty shooting

    Leave a Comment

    Three New Haven Police Department officers were arrested Friday morning for their involvement in an off-duty shooting incident outside the State Street bar Christopher Martin’s last Sunday.

    The NHPD secured arrest warrants from the State’s Attorney’s office Thursday evening for the three officers, who voluntarily turned themselves in at police headquarters on Union Avenue this morning. Officers Lawrence Burns and Charles Kim were charged with interfering with a police officer, unlawful discharge of a firearm and reckless endangerment in the first degree, while Officer Krzystof Ruszczyk was charged with interfering with a police officer.

    The arrests came after a week of investigation conducted by the NHPD’s Internal Affairs and Investigative Services divisions, said NHPD spokesman David Hartman. The investigation began after NHPD officers responded to a report of gunshots around State and Pearl streets at 2:27 a.m. Sunday and learned that fellow officers were involved in the incident.

    “No one was shot at, no one was hit, no property was damaged,” NHPD Chief Dean Esserman said at a Sunday press conference addressing the incident. “The actions of the few do not speak for the many.”

    Esserman asked the three officers to surrender their guns, badges and police identification Sunday afternoon and promised the NHPD would “move rapidly” in its investigation of the incident.

    The three officers will appear in court for their arraignment April 20.

  7. ICE arrests 145 New England residents

    Leave a Comment

    In a six-day nationwide sweep of illegal immigrants that ended Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 145 New England residents, including one in New Haven.

    The Connecticut arrests were part of 3,100 arrests ICE has made since last Wednesday, when its Enforcement and Removal Operations agency began the latest crackdown on undocumented residents convicted of serious crimes. Of the 145 people arrested in New England, 119 had prior criminal convictions including six who have been convicted of sex offenses, ICE said in a Tuesday press release. Thirty-two Connecticut residents were arrested in all. Nationwide, over 1,000 of those arrested have multiple criminal convictions.

    “The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE’s ongoing commitment to public safety,” said Dorothy Herrera-Niles, field office director of ICE’s ERO for New England, in the a statement. “When we focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and immigration fugitives, we get an immediate payback in our communities.”

  8. NHPD officers under investigation

    Leave a Comment

    Three New Haven Police Department officers have been placed on paid administrative leave after an off-duty shooting incident outside State Street bar Christopher Martin’s Sunday morning.

    NHPD Chief Dean Esserman said he asked the three officers to surrender their guns, badges and police identification Sunday afternoon after the department launched an Internal Affairs investigation into the incident.

    “No one was shot at, no one was hit, no property was damaged,” Esserman said. “The actions of the few do not speak for the many.”

    Officers responded to a report of gunshots around State and Pearl streets at 2:27 a.m. Sunday morning and found evidence of gunfire, City Hall spokeswoman Elizabeth Benton ’04 said.

    The two officers who fired their guns were Charles Kim and Larry Burns, while the third officer did not fire his gun, the New Haven Register reported.

  9. “Hamburglar” strikes in Connecticut

    Leave a Comment

    A former restaurant worker at Johnny Rockets, a popular American fast-food chain, was arrested in South Windsor, Conn., Thursday morning after he was caught on camera stealing about $900 worth of food, the Hartford Courant reported.

    The suspect, 45-year-old Alphonso Williams, was taken into custody on $2,500 bail and faces charges of third-degree burglary and fifth-degree larceny. Williams worked with another former employee of the Johnny Rockets to steal food using hand trucks

    Police officers have named him Hartford’s “Hamburglar,” according to the Courant. We sincerely hope he stays away from Prime 16.

  10. New Haven records second homicide of 2012

    Leave a Comment

    Just three days after New Haven had its first homicide of 2012, a second man was shot and killed Tuesday evening.

    New Haven Police Department officers patrolling around Valley Street heard shots at 11:06 p.m. Shortly after, they located a “black male victim with several gunshot wounds” lying on the ground in front of 58 Hilltop Place in the West Rock neighborhood, according to department spokesman David Hartman. The man, who Hartman said was “in his late teens or early twenties,” was pronounced dead at the scene.

    NHPD detectives from the Major Crimes Unit immediately launched an investigation, talking with neighbors and collecting forensic evidence, Hartman said, though the victim of the homicide has yet to be identified.

    Tuesday evening’s murder is the second in four days. The first homicide, which broke a streak of more than two months without a homicide, took place Saturday morning. In the first homicide, a “black male, suspected to be in his late teens or early 20s,” was found dead in a silver Range Rover near the intersection of County and Munson Streets in Dixwell.

    At this time last year, the city had recorded seven murders — en route to a 20-year high 34 murders.

  11. Man arrested in East Rock for trying to go kite surfing

    Leave a Comment

    A man was arrested Sunday after attempting to go kite surfing off of East Rock, the New Haven Register reported Sunday.

    Vin Conti was preparing for a glide in East Rock Park when the winds turned against him and his kite got caught in some trees. Before Conti could rescue the paraglider, a policeman arrested him on the grounds that scaling, ascension or descent at East Rock is forbidden. Conti was not allowed to free his kite before being taken away.

    Conti told the Register that he frequently kite surfed at East Rock and that he is “licensed by a federally recognized organization to do so.” He insisted that kite surfing is “normally very safe” and that although it can be dangerous, “more people are hurt riding bicycles.”

    He was released after he made a written promise to appear in court.

  12. NHPD arrests 40 revelers at St. Patrick’s Day Parade

    Leave a Comment

    A boisterous crowd filled downtown New Haven on Sunday for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, even as police cracked down on public drinking along the route.

    New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman said around 40 people were arrested, predominantly for alcohol-related offenses. Eleven were arrested for breach of the peace, five for disorderly conduct and eight for interfering with police officers, Hartman said, noting that these numbers are roughly comparable to past parades.

    “The crowd along the parade was generally well behaved, as expected, but those in the downtown bar areas were generally not well behaved,” he said. “We were pleased that in the wake of increased enforcement of laws prohibiting the public consumption of alcohol, there was a very noticeable increase in the number of younger children who lined the parade route with their families.”

    In a press conference at Whitney Avenue bar Anna Liffey’s last Thursday, Hartman stressed the NHPD would be vigorously enforcing public drinking laws and issuing a $99 fine to offenders. To that end, the NHPD hired an additional 100 officers on Sunday to patrol the downtown area.

    The policing of the event did not deter parade-goers from turning out in high numbers. Although Hartman said the parade “absolutely did not” draw the 300,000 people expected by Grand Marshal Kevin Smith, it was the most well attended parade he has seen.

    “A sensible estimate of those revelers in the heart of the Downtown entertainment district would be more than 20,000 but fewer than 35,000 at any one time,” Hartman said.

    Among the Elm City officials marching in the parade were Mayor John DeStefano Jr., NHPD Chief Dean Esserman and New Haven Fire Department Chief Michael Grant.

    State politicians also appeared in the line-up: U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) marched alongside U.S. Representative Chris Murphy, who hopes to replace U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 after he retires at the end of his term this year.

    All up, the parade was slated to feature 3,600 marchers in 126 units, according to Smith.