Two arrested for local shooting as NHPD reviews reporting procedures to New Haven Schools
Ten New Haven Schools were forced into a lockdown on Monday after shots were fired between two cars a block behind Science Hill.
Two individuals were arrested on Monday following the shooting that sent ten New Haven schools into lockdown Monday morning.
The individuals were leaving Newhall Street in Hamden when they were arrested by New Haven Police in connection to the shots fired between two cars that occurred near Science Hill on Monday morning. Police have also recovered four firearms, one of which has been linked to the shooting.
The shootings prompted lockdowns at schools across the city, potentially due to a miscommunication between police dispatch and the Board of Education security’s team, leading the BOE to believe that an active shooter was inside a New Haven school.
“Through investigative efforts by NHPD’s shooting task force and criminal intelligence units working with state and Hamden Police, we determined that the persons responsible may have fled to a house on Newhall St. in Hamden which police have identified as a known location for criminal activity,” New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Both individuals, one a 19-year old from New Haven and the other an 18-year old from Bridgeport, have been charged with criminal possession of a firearm, possessing weapons in a motor vehicle, pistol without a permit, high-capacity magazines and larceny of a motor vehicle.
The department has recovered 23 casings around the area of the shooting. They also obtained a search warrant to search the Newhall St. house and obtained two more firearms that police suspect have also been involved in shootings around the city.
New Haven police were dispatched to 31 Lawrence St. at 8:54 a.m. on Monday after witnesses reported two vehicles chasing each other while rounds were being fired from at least one of the vehicles. According to NHPD, no person was hit by the gunfire, but one parked vehicle was struck by a bullet.
Yale Police issued a Yale Alert email at 9:02 a.m. informing students about the shooting. The Yale Police Department then issued an all-clear at 10:39 a.m.
Shortly after responding to the call, NHPD located one of the two cars, an Acura MDX in Fair Haven with “numerous bullet holes.” The Acura had been reported stolen out of Hamden on Feb. 26.
“A short time later, members of the Shooting Task Force, Criminal Intelligence Unit, and the Hamden Police Department located the Dodge Durango in Hamden,” Public Information Officer Capt. Rose Dell wrote to the News.
Ben Berkowitz witnessed some of the incident after dropping children off at school. Berkowitz witnessed the Dodge Durango barge into the intersection on Whitney Avenue, where he was driving.
“I then saw a man lean out of the car and I could see a pistol,” Berkowitz told the News. “I turned left, and I could hear gunshots. I stopped near a woman who was hiding behind a tree and called 911 and the officer who responded found three bullet casings.”
The shooting forced 10 schools into a full lockdown on Monday. Not all schools that faced lockdowns were close to the area of the shooting, leading to questions as to why a lockdown order was issued.
According to Jacobson, New Haven Public Schools security regularly monitors police radios to monitor for threats. When NHPS heard of the shots fired on Monday morning, they instituted a lockdown in some schools. The lockdown order was expanded to more schools in New Haven when NHPS officials feared that the shooting was moving and thus posed a threat to a wider radius of schools.
Jacobson told the News that the miscommunication probably came from police dispatch describing the shooting over radio as an active shooting, leading NHPS to believe that there was an active shooter in a building instead of two cars shooting between each other.
“I am worried about any miscommunication related to school security but am also relieved that it resulted in lockdowns, as opposed to the opposite of what could have happened,” BOE board member Darnell Goldson told the News. “I have confidence that the police and school security will correct the communication issues. At the end of the day, it is better safe than sorry.”
Jacobson told the News that the department plans on reviewing the procedure of communication with NHPS to ensure that “traumatizing active shooter” lockdowns are prevented as often as possible.
New Haven Public Schools serve 19,000 students.
New Haven Public School students and parents have expressed frustration about the multiple lockdowns that schools in the city have seen in recent months.
“It’s extremely frustrating, and a lot of students are fed up with the constant threat of violence and instability in places where we are supposed to be safe,” Board of Education student representative Dave Cruz-Bustamante told the News. “I applaud all the students, teachers, administrators and workers who get us through this, and I hope we start to center healing justice more after these events, rather than pretend like they never happen.”
The two cars involved in the shooting, according to New Haven Police Department public information officer Rose Dell, were a Dodge Durango and an Acura MDX.
Later in the day on Monday, police found the Acura MDX in Fair Haven riddled with bullets, according to an NHPD press release. The Acura had been reported stolen in Hamden on Sunday.that Police also found the Durango they believe was involved in the incident on Leeder Hill Road in Hamden.