Zoe Berg, Senior Photographer

A security guard at a public elementary school in New Haven was arrested on Sunday after pursuing and shooting at a 14-year-old who had broken into his car in broad daylight. 

According to a Sunday press release from the New Haven Police Department, the security guard, Tiquentes Graybrown, claimed to believe the child was armed when he discharged his personal weapon. The New Haven Police Department later confirmed that the child was not armed. Graybrown said that though he shot at the child, he missed and the child was unharmed. When police arrived at the scene, they found Graybrown in the process of detaining the child.

Graybrown has been charged with criminal attempt to commit assault in the 1st degree, unlawful discharge of a firearm, risk of injury to a minor and reckless endangerment in the 2nd degree. He is currently out on bail and has been reassigned to the central administrative office for New Haven Public Schools on Meadow St.

Dave John Cruz-Bustamante, a Board of Education student representative and junior at Wilbur Cross High School, told the News that Sunday’s incident is representative of deeper problems in the district.

“We’re in this culture of dysfunction within New Haven Public Schools and a culture marked by tension between teachers, administrators, adults and students,” Cruz-Bustamante said. “We need to demilitarize our schools and implement transformative and restorative justice. I think this can be seen through [Sunday’s] situation.”

NHPD officers responded to a report of gunfire on Hallock Ave on Sunday afternoon. Graybrown told officers that his neighbor alerted him of two children who had broken into his car. According to the NHPD police report, he pursued one of the children into a yard and told him to “stop running because he had nowhere to go.”

When the child reached into his pocket, Graybrown fired a shot and searched the student, finding a baby monitor taken from his car.

“Officers examined Graybrown’s vehicle and found the rear driver side window was broken and the steering column was damaged,” NHPD public information officer Captain Rose Dell told the News. “A records check indicated that Graybrown had a valid pistol permit.”

Graybrown has been employed as a security officer at Conde West Hills Magnet School since 2019. According to New Haven Public Schools spokesperson Justin Harmon, he had a clean record prior to Sunday’s incident.

Graybrown is not an armed school resource officer, who are NHPD officers assigned to NHPS, but rather a city employee who works at NHPS. As a security guard, Graybrown is not an armed government official and has no police powers, including the ability to make probable cause searches. Unlike with school resource officers, there is no standardized training for NHPS security guards. Instead, security guards are trained on-site according to school-specific requirements.

According to Harmon, Graybrown and other security guards are responsible for managing security at bus lines and searching bags upon entry at the beginning of the school day.

Harmon added that the district has a specific procedure when an incident like this occurs outside of school hours and off of NHPS property. 

“The employee was arrested and released on bond and is currently assigned to the district office away from students,” Harmon told the News. “He spoke with NHPS Human Resources today and the district must wait for the criminal process to finish before we make a determination on his employment.” 

BOE Member Darnell Goldson told the News that Graybrown deserves “due process” before a determination is made.

Monday afternoon, New Haven Board of Education president Yesenia Rivera said that the BOE had made no plans for addressing the incident at Monday night’s meeting since there was not enough information on the situation.

Rivera said that the BOE may decide to have a board meeting to discuss the incident once more information becomes public.

If Graybrown is convicted, NHPS and City Hall’s human resources department will decide together whether he will continue to be employed by the city.

Conde West Hills Magnet School is located at 511 Chapel St.

Correction, Jan. 27: A previous version of this article labeled Dave John Cruz-Bustamante as a sophomore at Wilbur Cross High School. Cruz-Bustamante is actually a junior. The article has been updated to reflect this.

AVA SAYLOR
Ava Saylor serves as an editor for WKND and covers education and youth services. She is a junior in Ezra Stiles College majoring in political science and education studies.
YASH ROY
Yash Roy covers City Hall and State Politics for the News. He is also a Production & Design editor, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion chair for the News. Originally from Princeton, New Jersey, he is a sophomore in Timothy Dwight College majoring in Global Affairs.