Waterbury police chief and gunshot victim discuss upcoming statewide gun buyback events

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — An anonymous man in Waterbury who said he is recovering from getting shot showed News 8 bandages on his body. Now, he said he’s afraid to go outside at night.

“You have a lot of malice out there,” he said. “It’s bad, really bad.”

Waterbury, like several other cities in Connecticut, has experienced what seems to be a rash of recent shootings involving young people. Last week, Waterbury experienced three shootings in one day. In one of those incidents, a ten-year-old boy was hit by gunfire.

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo told News 8 his department is working hard to get guns off the streets.

“Our officers are running into illegal guns at an alarming pace,” he said. “We’re finding them on juveniles. We’re finding them in homes. We’re finding them in cars that were involved in incidents, so there [have] been a lot of recoveries.”

This Saturday, police departments across the state are participating in a statewide Keep Kids Safe Gun Buyback program. The events are happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Bridgeport: Police Dept. – 1395 Sylvan Ave
  • Guilford: Police Dept. – 400 Church St.
  • Hartford: Public Works – 50 Jennings Road
  • Newtown: Police Dept. – 191 S. Mai St.
  • Stamford: Police Dept. – 725 Bedford St.
  • Waterbury: Trinity Health of New England – 15 West Dover St.

No ID is required at any of those locations. An ID is required at the following location:

  • Norwalk: Police Dept. – 1 Monroe St.

Gift cards will be exchanged for operable guns (while supplies last). Guns must be transported in the trunk of your car.

Non-operable guns, BB guns and ammunition are welcome, but no gift cards will be exchanged for those items.

Here’s what gift cards WILL be exchanged for:

  • $25: Single and double shot (Derringer-style) handguns and any type of black-powdered guns
  • $50: Rifles and shotguns
  • $100: Pistol and revolver handguns
  • $200: Assault weapons (Per CT Summary of Gun Laws. To be determined by police. No newly sawed-off shotguns)

A limited number of free biometric gun safes will be distributed.

The events are sponsored by a number of organizations, including the Newtown Action Alliance Foundation and the Ethan Miller Song Foundation.

Ethan Miller was just 15 when he lost his life. He was from Guilford. He was at a friend’s house when they got ahold of a gun and ammunition that were stored in a shoebox. The gun went off and Ethan passed away.

His parents have worked tirelessly to try to prevent tragedies like that from happening to another child and another family.

“From kids to people who have unwanted guns, to folks who are going through some types of mental illness, we think it’s a great idea sometimes to remove the gun from the home so everybody can be safe,” said Mike Song, Ethan’s father.

“We’re really proud to partner with the Newtown Action Alliance and the Ethan Miller Song Foundation and a number of different healthcare providers across the state to participate in the gun buyback,” Spagnolo said.

The man who was shot on the streets thinks the buyback event is a good idea. However, when News 8 asked if he thinks whoever shot him would turn in his weapon, this was his response:

“I doubt it,” he said.

“Do we anticipate a criminal coming or someone who really wants to use a gun coming and handing it in this weekend? No,” Spagnolo said. “But, we do anticipate people who have guns in their household and they’re not quite sure why they’re there or if they have a use for them anymore on handing them in so they don’t end up in the hands of people that they shouldn’t belong to.”

A previous gun buyback in Waterbury netted more than 80 guns.

“Any gun off the street is a good thing,” Spagnolo said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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