Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Local Residents "Shook Up" Over Neighborhood Murder

Zion Hill Road residents said Monday the gunshots that rang out Sunday night, marking the city’s first apparent killing this year, and the grisly discovery of a body that followed, have disturbed the calm of the secluded neighborhood in the city’s north end.

“I knew it wasn’t fireworks. It was just the sound, and the way they were fired. The deliberate way they were fired,” said the Zion Hill Road resident who placed the lone call alerting police to the slaying Sunday night.

“There were two shots, then a pause, then several more in quick succession.”

Police were still waiting Monday night for the state medical examiner to confirm the identity of the man who was found dead Sunday night on the side of Zion Hill Road with multiple gunshot wounds.

Police have tentatively identified the victim as a 28-year-old New Haven resident, but are waiting for confirmation from the medical examiner and notification of the victim’s family before releasing his identity.

A 2000 Honda Accord police believe was used by the victim was found on Newfield Avenue in Bridgeport Monday afternoon and is being forensically reviewed, police spokesman Officer Vaughan Dumas said.

Police were called to the area of Zion Hill and Wheeler’s Farms roads at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday after receiving a report of gunshots.

The man who called police after hearing eight to 10 gunshots said the discovery on the edge of his property was unsettling.

“You don’t want stray bullets flying around you,” said the Zion Hill Road resident, who declined to give his name.

The man said he called 911 after hearing loud noises that he was sure were gunshots.

He said he thought someone was taking shots at a deer and went to investigate after calling police. The Zion Hill Road resident wasn’t able to find anything.

The police who showed up quickly discovered a body about 5 feet off the road in a wooded area near the 911 caller’s property.

“It is a little nerve-racking finding a body basically on your property; this is not one of those things to take lightly. It really brings you up to modern times. It could happen anywhere and now it’s happened here,” the man said.

“Forensic evidence” was found near the body leading police to believe that the man was killed at or near where the body was found, police said.

Francis D. Amico, another Zion Hill Road resident, said he didn’t hear the gunshots and was unaware of the shooting until told by a reporter Monday.

He said young people sometimes drink on the street because it is so secluded with so few houses.

“But that’s been going on for the last 80 years,” Amico said.

He said he wasn’t fazed or made nervous at all by the apparent killing.

“The cops will take care of it and it’s none of my business,” Amico said.

The victim was not carrying identification, which contributed to the delay in making a positive identification.

He is described as a Hispanic male with a “chin-strap” style beard and short hair, police said.

He was 5 feet 7 inches tall and about 165 pounds, police said.

He was wearing a two-tone brown and beige long-sleeved shirt, denim jeans, a wide black belt, white Nike sneakers, and a two-tone hat, blue with a brown brim, Boston Red Sox hat.

His left hand had long fingernails, with an exceptionally long fingernail on his pinky, police said.

Police expect to release the victim’s name today.

ORIGINAL J. Tinley Story

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