HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Austin Berescik-Johns, attorney for the victim in the July 5 shooting at New Haven’s Union Station, spoke exclusively to News 8 Wednesday, hours after the alleged gunman appeared in a New Haven courtroom.
News 8 is not reporting the 34-year-old victim’s name out of precaution for his safety because police said a second suspect is still on the loose. However, Berescik-Johns said the victim is recovering.
“My client is out of the hospital,” Berescik-Johns said. “He’s certainly doing better than when he was in the hospital in critical condition. He is concerned, I am concerned, about long-term consequences; but he is on the mend.”
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Dayron Sanchez of Derby made a brief, second appearance in New Haven court Wednesday morning.
The teen is charged with first-degree assault, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a gun.
A court official said Sanchez entered a “not guilty” plea in court and is electing a trial by jury rather than a courtside trial by a judge.
MTA and New Haven police said that on July 5, Sanchez and another suspect got into an argument with the victim while on a train, which spilled onto the platform at Union Station.
“[My client] should have never been in this position,” Berescik-Johns said. “He was, like many of us, on the train minding his own business thinking he was going to have a very routine evening.”
The victim, who declined to speak on-camera, told News 8 that he was shot five times and spent about two weeks in the hospital. He showed his injuries — including bullet holes in his chest, abdomen and arm.
“This could’ve been a situation that resulted in a death,” Berescik-Johns said. “I think he’s lucky to be alive; and we don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”
New Haven City leaders and the MTA said the shooting was a “targeted incident” and that the suspects and victim knew each other.
Berescik-Johns said otherwise.
“My client, and the two people who attacked him, did not know each other,” Berescik-Johns said. “They exchanged some words on the train that evening earlier on, and it was a very short interaction. My client went his separate way, didn’t think much of it, thought, ‘OK, we’re just going to go our separate ways, go on, go home.’ And when they got to Union Station, that’s when the two attackers sought him out and the attack happened.”
The attorney said, at this point, the victim is less focused on the suspects.
“He’s, obviously, very upset about it; but he’s more concerned about the safety situation at Union Station,” Berescik-Johns said.
Berescik-Johns said they are in early stages of exploring their legal options.
“No one should be able to get on a train with a gun, certainly when they don’t have the proper licensing to carry that gun and use it to hurt a fellow passenger on the train,” Berescik-Johns said.
Sanchez is being held on a $500,000 bond. His next court appearance is Sept. 5.