NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Police identified three people city officials described as suspects in their investigation of a shots fired incident that happened in front of a preschool in New Haven Tuesday.
“Resulting from video surveillance and a witness, that led to information that led the New Haven police and Hamden police to identify and apprehend three suspects,” Mayor Justin Elicker said Wednesday.
Just before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, officers responded to Goffe Street between Winter and Orchard streets for a report of gunshots. This incident happened in front of Dr. Reginald Mayo Early Learning Center as students were being dismissed. Police believe the person responsible was shooting at someone on the street across from the school, not at the school.
New Haven Assistant Police Chief Karl Jacobson said school staff and administrators got students safely off of buses, back into the school and locked it down. No one was hurt.
23 nine-millimeter shell casings were collected at the scene, Jacobson said, and detectives spoke to witnesses and collected video footage of the incident.
The investigation revealed a white Toyota RAV4 was responsible for the shooting, Jacobson said. Detectives were aware of a similar RAV4 recently stolen out of Wallingford.
With assistance from Wallingford police, they were able to get the plate number and start looking for the vehicle. Detectives located the car in Hamden and as the people who had left the vehicle went to get back in, a foot chase ensued. Detectives apprehended three people: two 17-year-olds and a 19-year-old man from New Haven.
The two 17-year-olds were charged for weapons violations and the stolen vehicle, according to Jacobson. The 19-year-old, identified by police as Natquan Swan, was arrested for criminal possession of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit, larceny in the first degree and interfering with police, Jacobson said.
Swan was held on a $500,000 bond and sent to court Wednesday.
Detectives recovered two polymer 89 millimeter ghost guns and a handgun. One of the ghost guns had a 35 round magazine and the other ghost gun had a 50 round drum magazine, according to Jacobson.
Jacobson said the car located in Hamden was the car stolen out of Wallingford and the three guns seized are the same caliber as the one in Tuesday’s incident, but he stressed no one has been charged in that incident.
“No one’s been charged with the incident from yesterday but we’re hoping with this gun seizure and the car seizure, we’re heading in the right direction,” Jacobson said.
Jacobson said ballistic evidence has been sent out and they should get confirmation within the next 24 hours if these were the guns used in that incident.
Officials say ghost guns are a growing problem in New Haven. The police department recovered nine ghost guns this year already. In 2021, seven ghost guns were recovered over the entire year.
“I think that guns need to be regulated in a way where we can identify a gun and then it can’t be fabricated at home and given to whoever,” Jacobson said.
City officials fear these weapons will become more common in the area.
“We’re not seeing more people shooting. We’re coming to a time where we see less people shooting but they have the capacity to dump so many rounds. It’s extremely dangerous,” Jacobson said.