“I can’t believe it,” said Vincent Zurolo, a Tolli Terrace resident.
The New Haven PD says it is investigating one of its own– Lieutenant Rahgue Tennant. They say the 18-year veteran of the force held his wife and 3 children hostage in their home and assaulted his wife over the course of several days before.
The news shocked people in the community who have come to know him. He was in the Patrol Division and Commander of District 6 – an area that covers Dixwell Avenue, home of the Varick Memorial AME Zion Church.
The Pastor there says Tennant is respected in the community.
“He was a champion of our community and he really helped the Varick Memorial Church and the Dixwell community with several situations,” said Rev. Kelcey GL Steele.
Neighbors say he and his family just moved to Tolli Terrace 3 months ago. He was known for introducing himself to people in the neighborhood. One woman told News8 he once helped her when he heard a loud argument in her home.
“Someone at the time said he must be my guardian angel,” she said.
But these allegations of domestic assault from the police investigation has people having trouble matching that with the police officer they’ve come to know.
“It’s very shocking because from the outside, it’s hard to really gauge mental health and so by hearing that and what I know of him, it’s very shocking. I would definitely not associate that with his character,” Rev. Steele said.
New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell issued a statement: “I’m deeply troubled by what we’ve learned,” the Chief said. “There is no special treatment of officers by this department when it comes to the commission of a crime.”
Neighbors and Rev. Steele are thankful the ordeal ended peacefully. The family made it out of the house and no one was hurt.
“My prayers are definitely with this family because I believe nobody should endure anything like what’s been reported,” Rev. Steele said.
Investigators have interviewed the Lieutenant’s family members and are in the process of compiling a list of charges against him.
He’s now suspended from the police department pending the outcome of the case.