Updated: Mar. 16, 2016
The man shot on Elm Street Sunday evening has been identified as 23-year-old Damien Phillips, according to a recent New Haven Police Department news release. He was shot twice in the leg and shoulder and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
A 7:30 p.m. Yale Alert said there is “no threat” to campus, but advised community members to avoid the area while police continue to investigate. NHPD spokesman David Hartman said the shooting was not related to the University or to the Sunday afternoon St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a sometimes raucous celebration that generally attracts upwards of 200,000 viewers to the city.
The shooter’s description was not available at the time of the press release, other than the fact that the individual was wearing a ski mask. Investigators suspect the victim was personally targeted as robbery did not appear to be the motive, according to the news release.
On Monday afternoon, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway sent an email out to the student body reiterating that the incident was unrelated to Yale and that the New Haven Police are investigating.
Holloway added that the police have “a strong lead” and have indicated that the shooting followed an altercation between two or three individuals.
Rosabelle Conover NUR ’18 DIV ’18, who was walking on the sidewalk beside Phillips when he was shot, said the shooting occurred at around 6:10 p.m. on Sunday.
“[My family and I] saw a group of around 15 people and then two kids who I would’ve said were in high school or so, fighting, right in front of Durfee’s,” Conover said. “We came up and we were maybe about 10 feet away. And the group just scattered. … We passed Durfee’s, and as we passed there was a little bit of a commotion behind us, and then around three or four shots… So we started running.”
Conover said she heard Phillips yell “I’ve been shot” and continue to run, adding that Phillips was not one of the two kids who were fighting.
Students in nearby Durfee Hall reported hearing the gunshot around the same time Sunday evening. By around 6:55 p.m. police had blocked off Elm Street at the intersection with York Street. An officer at the scene around 8 p.m. said detectives were finished processing the scene, and the road block was lifted about an hour later.
Newlyn Joseph ’19 told the News that around 6:10 p.m. he heard shouting outside his dorm room in Durfee Hall, followed by three shots. Joseph’s blinds were drawn and he did not see anything, he said.
Cars that had been parked along Elm Street were directed to leave the area via the Rose Walk in front of Sterling Memorial Library. The Elm Street entrance to Old Campus was taped off.
Amy Cheng contributed reporting.