Two shootings took place in New Haven just hours apart Friday afternoon, the first only a block from Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray colleges. Neither of the shooting victims was affiliated with Yale University.
The first shooting took place one block north of the new colleges at the intersection of Winchester Avenue and Compton Street just after noon. The victim was shot in the calf but is expected to make a full recovery, and according to New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman, a suspect vehicle had been located on Eastern Street.
The second victim, who was shot approximately five hours later on County Street between Whalley Avenue and Goffe Street, is in critical condition at Yale New Haven Hospital, according to a Friday email from Hartman. In the email, Hartman said the police had not yet identified a suspect or suspect vehicle for the second incident.
Witnesses who arrived on the scene of the first shooting shortly after it occurred said the victim was driving a car and crashed into a barrier on the sidewalk before he was shot in the calf.
One witness, who requested anonymity, said four gunshots rang out just moments after she heard the car strike the barrier. She added that, while crashes are common at the intersection, the neighborhood had not seen much gun violence since she moved there three years ago.
“You know what, this is a really nice neighborhood,” she said. “I really like this neighborhood. It’s so close to Yale … So I was kind of sad that had to happen.”
Kelli Albaitis, who lives two houses from the site of the first shooting, said she was also surprised that the shooting took place so close to Yale and in broad daylight. She said that “this was the Yale section” of the neighborhood and that she was “on the good end of Winchester.”
Albaitis said she left her house after she heard a loud crash followed by several gunshots. She then walked to the intersection, where she saw the victim sitting with another man across the street from the wreck. The victim said he was the driver of the vehicle, according to Albaitis.
“[The victim] just kept saying, ‘He hit me, he shot me,’” Albaitis said.
Albaitis said the man had a bullet wound in his left calf, but that he was not bleeding badly from the wound. She added that he was also bleeding slightly from his head, possibly from hitting it on the steering wheel during the crash or from hitting the pavement when exiting the vehicle.
She said she did not see who shot the man but that a red sedan quickly drove away from the scene down Compton Street shortly after the shots were fired. Albaitis said the sedan resembled a Toyota Camry and was fairly old and beaten-up, but that she only caught a glimpse of it before it sped away.
According to Albaitis, the man attending to the victim took his shirt off and tied it around the victim’s thigh to stop the bleeding. However, Albaitis, who has some medical training, said she went back to her house to retrieve gloves and a towel to help the victim because she was concerned the makeshift tourniquet would not do enough to stop the blood.
Ambulances arrived on scene about 10 minutes after the shots were fired, but NHPD officers and a fire truck arrived before then, according to Albaitis.
There are no reports connecting the first shooting to the second shooting that took place Friday evening.
Two hours after the second shooting, there were six police cars blocking off the section of Whalley Avenue between Sherman Avenue and Winthrop Avenue, two blocks away from where Hartman wrote in his email that the shooting took place. There was no activity on County Street, and neither employees at the nearby CVS Pharmacy nor people who live on the street said they had heard or seen the shooting.
Amin Wali, a third cousin of the victim, said he was in his martial arts studio near the intersection of Whalley Avenue and Sherman Avenue when the shooting occurred. He added that he had seen a man running down the street just afterward and that the police had arrived between five and 10 minutes later. Police on the scene declined to comment on the incident.
The NHPD has not issued an update on either shooting as of Sunday night.