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‘Will not be tolerated.’ Bridgeport mayor, police chief address 5 shootings over Memorial Day weekend

The city saw five shootings from Saturday night into early Sunday morning over the span of 6 1/2 hours. Police said in each, one person in their 20s was shot. All are expected to survive.

Marissa Alter

May 28, 2024, 11:01 PM

Updated 23 days ago


Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont made a stop in Bridgeport Tuesday morning to stand in solidarity with the mayor, police chief and dozens of community leaders following a violent holiday weekend. The city saw five shootings from Saturday night into early Sunday morning over the span of 6 1/2 hours. Police said in each, one person in their 20s was shot. All are expected to survive.
“This is the community coming together to make a very strong statement,” said Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim at a news conference surrounded by city council members, state legislators and heads of outreach programs. “A weekend and evening like we saw this past weekend will not be tolerated in the city of Bridgeport. If you think you're going to tote a gun and be able to shoot it freely and especially where it has an impact in taking down victims, we're going to focus on you, we're going to lock you up and send a message out to the people of the city of Bridgeport.”
Three of the shootings happened at the P.T. Barnum Apartments. Police said the first was outside Building 6 around 8:10 p.m. Saturday. Officers responded to a ShotSpotter activation and located the crime scene but no victim. They said a 22-year-old Bridgeport man later turned up at a hospital with gunshot wounds to one of his hands and legs.
Police said they returned to the complex around 10:50 p.m. after another ShotSpotter activation and found a crime scene near Buildings 12, 13 and 17. The victim in that shooting, a 21-year-old Bridgeport man, arrived at an area hospital soon after with a gunshot to his lower back, according to police. They said a dark colored vehicle with tinted windows fled the scene.
Officers were called back to P.T. Barnum around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, following a third ShotSpotter activation and found a crime scene at the basketball court near Building 15, police said. They located the 21-year-old victim in the housing community and said he’d been shot in the leg.
“The three P.T. shootings specifically, those are related,” Capt. Kevin Gilleran said at the news conference, declining to go into further detail. The other two shootings are believed to be unrelated. Just after 11 p.m. Saturday, a man who’d been shot in the groin showed up at a local hospital and reported he'd been hit while walking on Ezra Street near Read School, police said. Officers were unable to find a crime scene when they arrived there. Police also responded to Holly Street at 12:35 a.m. Sunday after a report of a person shot. They said the victim, a 28-year-old Bridgeport woman, drove herself to the hospital after being hit in the face and neck. According to police, the victim was driving when she was shot and said the bullets came from a dark colored vehicle.
There have been no arrests yet in any of the cases, but Gilleran said there are several leads in each.
“One non-fatal shooting is not acceptable in our community anymore,” Gilleran stated.
Chief Roderick Porter promised the weekend shootings would not become common place.
“The tragic incidents that happened over this past weekend are very concerning because we have not seen this current level of violence in recent times here in Bridgeport. We're committed to ensuring that we continue to make progress,” Porter said.
Porter highlighted the city’s recent reduction in gun violence and said prior to this weekend, shootings were down 63% compared to the same time last year. And that’s despite the department being down “a good number” of officers.
“We're working very hard. We've hired roughly 60 officers the past year to reach the mayor's goal of 100 officers within the next year, and we're working hard to replenish our ranks but while we're doing that, I want to reassure our citizens that we are maintaining public safety in the city of Bridgeport,” Porter stated.
Porter also talked about stepping up patrols and strategically targeting certain areas.
But efforts to stop gun violence go beyond the police department. Dawn Spearman founded the group You Are Not Alone to support families in Bridgeport who lost a loved one to gun violence. Spearman spoke directly to parents during the press conference. “In my 12 years, we fought, trying to take back our streets. We can't take back our streets. But parents, what we can do, is go look in the closets, look in the drawers, the guns are being held somewhere,” Spearman said.
Marc Donald, the executive director of the nonprofit RYSAP—Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership—talked about the prevention side and what RYSAP does to keep kids away from a life of crime.
“People who have been incarcerated, who made mistakes, are now giving back to the community,” Donald explained. “They're working with the young people directly to get them to make better decisions, to get involved in the workforce and careers, to become better family members, to become better community members.”
The governor said it was important for him to come to Bridgeport to show the public they have the state’s support.
“The state is with you. Our state police are with you,” Lamont pledged. “I want the community to support the police and support them, not just by saying, ‘Thank you for the good work you do on our behalf,’ but also give them the information they need to make sure this is a lot less likely to happen again.”
Gilleran said the community’s backing is stronger than it’s been in years and a big reason why crime is down.
“We're with the community now. The community is with us. It's evident. I’ve been here 27 years, and I’ve never seen it like that,” Gilleran stated.
Anyone with information on the weekend’s violence can leave information anonymously by using the Bridgeport Tips Line at 203-576-TIPS.

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