Memory of slain brother drives Bridgeport man’s goal to become state trooper

Gamel Dawkins, 32, of Bridgeport, says he is one step closer to achieving that dream of becoming a Connecticut State Police trooper – thanks to somebody who's had his back for a long time.
The Honorable Kevin S. Russo, a Superior Court Judge in the Judicial District of Fairfield, has written Dawkins a glowing letter of recommendation for a career in law enforcement. What makes that recommendation so special – Russo was the same judge who presided over the murder trials of both men convicted in the 2018 murder of Dawkins' little brother, 12-year-old Clinton Howell.
"He's seen the turmoil that my family has endured with the passing of my brother…he sees that I want to give back," says Dawkins. “He wanted to be there every step of the way.”
Howell’s killing took place in front of the family's home on Willow Street just a week before Christmas. It was on the same porch that Dawkins recently got his results back from the standardized test required to become a trooper.
"When I saw that I passed it, it was just -- it was joy. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. That I actually completed that milestone," says Dawkins.
He got a visit from both candidates running for mayor of Bridgeport in the Democratic primary this Tuesday -- John Gomes and the incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim.
Ganim says he's been helping Dawkins on his path to becoming a trooper for the past two years. Dawkins also got support from Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
"I'm inspired by Gamel Dawkins' dedication to protecting others after the tragic loss of his brother," says Blumenthal.
Dawkins says he is determined not to let Howell’s death be in vain.
"Everyone knows with the police, in recent memory, with the public and community relations have had a strain…my mindset to come in and show everyone that I'm here to help," says Dawkins.
He only has a little further to go before reaching his goal of stopping gun violence through a career in law enforcement, in memory of his brother.
"Having Clinton behind me, and guiding me, and in my spirits -- it always keeps that fire and always keeps me wanting to do it every day," says Dawkins.