Murder arrests gives family measure of relief

December 25, 2018

BRIDGEPORT — The Christmas Eve arrest of four individuals in the drive by shooting of 12-year-old Clinton Howell has brought some measure of peace to members of his family.

“Thank God justice will be served, Clinton’s brother, Gregory May posted on Facebook on Monday. “I prayed that this wouldn’t turn into a cold case! R.I.P. baby brother.”

On Monday police arrested Tajay Chambers, 18, charging him with murder with special circumstances, carrying a pistol without a permit, second-degree larceny and risk of injury to a child.

Chambers was already in custody in connection with an earlier assault at Central High School.

Police Chief Armando Perez also confirmed the arrest of three juveniles in connection with the case, ages 12, 14 snf 16. They have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit and larceny in the second degree.

“I feel so bad for the (Howell) family, but I am glad that we have been able to bring them justice. Our guys did a great job in the investigation,” Perez said.

Perez and Mayor Joseph Ganim visited Clinton’s parents on Christmas Eve to notify them of the arrests.

Cynthia Dawkins, Clinton’s mom, told News 12 it won’t bring her son back but does bring some measure of relief that the suspected killers have been caught.

“That’s all I wanted was justice,” Dawkins said.

Police said Howell was shot once in the chest around 9 p.m. outside his family’s light green duplex in the 200 block of Willow Street. His family said he had just walked home after buying some snacks at a nearby store. He was rushed to Bridgeport Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later, becoming the city’s 11th homicide of 2018.

Police said the boy was a bystander, and the target of the drive-by shooting had been his older cousin who was also standing outside the house.

Police sources said Chambers had been involved in an ongoing dispute with Howell’s cousin, who was not identified. On the evening of Dec. 18, the sources said, Chambers drove slowly by the Willow Street home. They said the cousin fired a pellet gun at Chamber’s car.

Chambers drove off, returning a short time later and fired at the cousin, hitting Howell, police sources said.

Chambers was arrested the night of Dec. 19 on an outstanding warrant charging him with second-degree assault and second-degree breach of peace.

The following day, Superior Court Judge Tracy Lee Dayton, aware that police were moving to arrest Chambers in the murder, ordered him held in lieu of a $500,000 bond. To ensure that Chambers wasn’t going anywhere, ICE agreed to put a detainer on Chambers, who they said is an undocumented immigrant from Jamaica.

Police said Chambers is accused with two other young men of assaulting a 16-year-old boy in the stairwell of Central High School on Oct. 12. Police said Chambers struck the victim in the head and then kicked the victim down the flight of stairs.

“The victim advised the boys that he was not into gang stuff, so he did not understand why they were confronting him.”

The incident was caught on the school’s video surveillance system.

Chambers is expected to be arraigned in Superior Court on Wednesday on the murder charge. Police say the arrest would not have been possible without strong cooperation from the public.

Clinton, meanwhile, will be laid to rest on Jan. 11, 2019, two days shy of what would have been his 13th birthday.

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