Violent homicide rattles Bridgeport neighborhood

March 11, 2019

BRIDGEPORT — Monday was a normal morning on Hollister Avenue.

Parents like Felipe Ramos dropped their kids off at Jettie S. Tisdale School.

Harry Sheffield lifted cases of liquor from his truck to restock Newfield Park Tree Social Club’s bar.

And Sam Dahdal handled his morning shift at the market at 832 Connecticut Ave.

All normal doings on a Monday morning. But Sunday evening was anything but normal.

Twenty bullets were fired into a car parked near the market killing a 21-year-old man and wounding his 17- and 22-year-old companions. The homicide was the city’s seventh of the year.

“I was not here but I heard he died right outside,” Dahdal said. “This is no good. This neighborhood is filled with a lot of kids, a lot of families.”

Police said all three were driven to Bridgeport Hospital in the vehicle they were sitting in when shot.

The 17-year-old and 22-year-old sustained non-life threatening injuries, police said. The 21 year old man arrived in critical condition and died a short time later. His name has not yet been released. For now he is just homicide number seven in 2019 Bridgeport.

Detectives seized the victims’ vehicle and had it towed for evidence processing.

Just last week Jerrell Gatewood, 34, was shot to death on Connecticut Avenue and Fifth Street, just a short walk away. .

The area is filled with multi-family homes, three churches, several small groceries and two large businesses —Moore Specialty Tools and Valley Container.

But Ramos has seen enough..

“I’m moving out of Bridgeport,” said Ramos as he watched his child enter Tisdale school. “I live right near the corner store. It’s just not safe anymore.”

He believes something has to be done about all these shootings.

“As difficult as it seems they got to try to get all these guns off the streets,” he said. “I’m worried about my kid and ourselves.”

Sheffield has an idea where police could start.

“Come by here any night and there’s a group of people hanging out in that empty lot across the street,” he said.

The lot once served as parking for Mamba’s, a bar and El Mismo Primo #8 market directly across the the social club at the intersection of Hollister and Stratford Avenues.

“The police set up a substation on Union Avenue when we had a store shot up two or three months ago,” he said. “They (the police) were here for about two or three weeks and everything was quiet.”

But when they left the groups came back.

Still none of this makes sense to Sam Hicks, a 65-year-old retired welder who wears a large cross depicting Christ’s crucifixion around his neck.

“I can’t understand what these kids are thinking,” Hicks, a tall, slender man said when told of the latest shooting. “I came here from Alabama. I learned to be a welder. I worked on the first nuclear sub made in Groton and on the interstate.”

Hicks, who lives nearby, said he still has a welding machine in his house.

“If any kid came up to me and was interested I would teach him how to weld,” said Hicks. “I would open my heart to help.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 203-581-5224 or 203-576-TIPS.