After holding his family hostage and assaulting his wife last week,  New Haven Police Lieutenant Rahgue Tennant — an 18-year department veteran — is facing criminal domestic abuse charges.

Tennant assaulted his wife over the course of several days while holding her and his three young children hostage in his house, according to a press release issued by New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman. The New Haven police were initially notified of the situation on Thursday at 5:40 p.m., when they received reports of a man barricaded in the Morse Cove neighborhood in New Haven. Eleven minutes later, SWAT team members and hostage negotiators were summoned to the home.

Responders established contact with the lieutenant on the scene, where Tennant requested help and agreed to emerge from the barricaded area. As emergency services personnel, including EMTs from the New Haven Fire Department and American Medical Response were in place, Townsend Avenue was closed to traffic. Area residents were informed of the incident and told to remain in their homes. The incident ended with a peaceful resolution.

Tennant now faces suspension from the police force as well as domestic abuse charges.

Although the first press release noted that the news came with a “heavy heart,” given Tennant’s relationship with the force, New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell ’95 DIV ’09 said that there is “no special treatment of officers by this department when it comes to the commission of a crime.”

“We have an obligation to the victims, … an obligation to uphold the law and assure that the perpetrators of crimes are held accountable,” Campbell said in the release.

“I’m troubled deeply by what we’ve learned,” he added. “We feel for the family and assure them their wellbeing is our first priority.”

Ashna Gupta |

Sammy Westfall |