A confrontation on the New Haven Green Saturday that included reports of gunfire stemmed from an altercation which occurred earlier that day at a local mall, New Haven Police and University officials said Monday.
After responding to reports of gunshots, police arrested a group of six teenage males, two juveniles and four adults, on charges including interfering with a police officer, assault and breach of peace, NHPD spokeswoman Bonnie Winchester said. But despite an extensive search of the Green that involved numerous officers, police are still unable to find a gun, shell casings or gunshot victims.
Police learned about the earlier incident after interviewing the arrested suspects. University Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith said the mall where the altercation began is located in Milford.
Campus police reported hearing a gunshot and seeing people at the alleged scene of the incident scatter, Winchester said. Yale students also said they heard sounds resembling gunshots from their dorms on Old Campus at the reported time of the incident.
Although police do not deny the possibility of gun violence, they said no hard evidence of gun use could be found after extensively searching the Green.
“About 20 or 30 men searched the green, but no guns were found,” Winchester said.
The original call to the NHPD was made by the driver of a Connecticut Transit bus. Winchester said the driver told police he heard a gunshot and witnessed a black male wearing a red bandana and a grey sweatshirt beating a woman on the Green. The driver gave his location as 281 Temple St.. CT Transit declined to comment on the incident.
The officers who responded chased a group of males — one of whom fit the description given by the bus driver — and apprehended them on the Green.
Police said they were unable to find guns on any of the six men who were arrested on a series of charges. Winchester said a 14-year-old was charged with interfering with a police officer while a 15-year-old was charged with assault in the third degree, interfering with a police officer and breach of peace in the second degree. Three of the adults arrested, Delton Plyes, 16, Timothy Johnson, 18, and Eric McArthur, 17, were arrested for assault in the third degree, interfering with a police officer and breach of peace in the second degree. Dwayne Johnson, 16, was charged with interfering with a police officer.
Suspects over the age of 15 in Connecticut are treated as adults.
Several ambulances were present on the Green, but the NHPD said no serious injuries occurred.
“The only person who sought medical attention was a young man who was complaining of jaw pain,” Winchester said. “He was among those arrested.”
The man, Timothy Johnson, was brought to Yale-New Haven Hospital. The hospital said as of Monday afternoon Johnson was in good condition. Police did not disclose information about the female victim.
In recent years, there have been no reported crimes on the Green involving guns, Yale Police Lt. Michael Patten said.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had an incident with firearms on the Green,” he said. “There used to be some problems four or five years back at the mall.”
Patten said students need to take reasonable precaution by traveling in groups and being aware of the surroundings.
Winchester said further investigation into the case is ongoing.