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Bridgeport homicide victim latest in list of unintended targets

December 23, 2018

BRIDGEPORT — When 12-year-old Clinton Howell died in a drive-by shooting, he joined a list of bystanders who Bridgeport police say were killed by bullets meant for someone else.

Among those unintended targets, Myoshi Bagley was killed on Oct. 31, when shots were fired at a man she was with, police said. Luis Colon, just 14, was not the intended target, according to police, when he was shot to death on Christmas Eve in 2015.

Looking at murders spanning back to 2013 that left nine bystanders dead, police have made arrests in seven cases — Bagley’s and Howell’s have not been closed.

When an unintended victim is shot dead, Police Chief Armando Perez said Saturday, the community generally pulls together and helps police make an arrest.

“It touches the people’s hearts, so I think we get a lot more cooperation,” Perez said.

Howell was shot outside his Willow Street home Tuesday night. He took one gunshot to the chest, suffering a wound that police Capt. Brian Fitzgerald called “unsurvivable.”

Howell was with two other people when he was shot, police said. Detectives are looking into the possibility that one or both of them might have been the target, Fitzgerald said, adding that the shooting was likely sparked by a dispute did not involve Howell.

“It was (meant for) somebody else. It wasn’t meant for him,” area resident Chad Dwayne said after Howell’s murder.

Detectives developed a “strong person of interest” within a day of Howell’s death, Fitzgerald said, adding that it’s someone familiar to police. Perez said an arrest warrant and a search warrant were applied for on Thursday. As of Saturday, no arrest had been made.

‘It could be my son’

Two days after Howell’s death, City Councilman Ernie Newton said he would pursue a stop-and-frisk policy for Bridgeport to keep the guns out of the hands of the “bad guys.”

By Friday afternoon, though, amid a storm of objection from community leaders, Newton said he would pursue other options.

“It could be my son, it could be your son, it could be your daughter,” to get shot next, Newton said Friday. “They could be innocent, and they could be killed ... My intention was to get these guns out of people’s hands that are killing one another and killing innocent people.”

Howell is the city’s 11th homicide of 2018. In 2017 the city saw 23 killings, well surpassing the 10 in Bridgeport in 2016.

Bagley, 41, was walking on Maplewood Avenue with David Belle on Halloween night when the two were hit by gunfire. Fitzgerald said later the 28-year-old Belle, who died in the hospital on Nov. 6, was likely the target.

Last year, according to police, three unintended victims were shot dead in Bridgeport.

Deon Rodney, 31, died on Oct. 14, 2017, trying to protect patrons of a Park Avenue barbershop where he cut hair. When the intended victim of at least two gunmen ran into Just Right Cutz, Rodney intervened, police said.

“He just punched and tackled the gunman to the ground,” said Justin Riley, barbershop owner, a few days after the fatal shooting. “They had a scuffle and he got shot.”

At the time of the shooting, Riley said, there were five customers in the shop, including a little boy.

“He’s dead because of these people running around with guns,” he said. “It’s just gotten crazy in this city.”

Mark “Pockets” Christian, 32, and Jordan “Gunner” Hinton, 30, were charged with Rodney’s murder.

Shot changing spark plugs

Cadell Moore was working on his car in front of houses on Sixth Street on Aug. 24 of last year when he was shot in the head during a drive-by shooting.

“He was just a good guy, a good father who just stopped there changing the spark plugs on his car when these kids with guns came up to shoot up a house,” Bridgeport attorney Edward Gavin, the spokesman for the Moore family, said after the shooting. “Moore was totally innocent.”

Less than two months later, police had charged 22-year-old David Shavers with Moore’s murder.

On May 2, 2017, Kyree Kennedy was accidentally shot and killed by his friend, police said, during a botched drive-by shooting.

Terrell “Big Baby” Evans, 22, was charged with shooting 22-year-old Kennedy in the head. Police said Evans went with Kennedy to Read Street to shoot up a car owned by someone with whom Kennedy was feuding.

Police said Evans fired from the front passenger seat out the driver’s side window, but when Kennedy turned his head he was struck by one of the bullets.

Looking back further, Monday will mark the third anniversary of Colon’s Christmas Eve 2015 shooting death, in an incident that also wounded a 17-year-old. Police said Colon was not the intended target.

Michael Majors, 23, was charged with Colon’s murder.

On Sept. 10, 2013, Christopher Pettway was killed near Trumbull and Reservoir avenues when he tried to shield four teenagers that were being shot at, police said. The shooting was sparked by an ongoing dispute, in which police said 26-year-old Pettway was not involved.

“He was an unintended target,” police Capt. James Viadero said at the time.

Roderick “Little Rickey” Rogers, 21, and Raashon “Red Dreads” Jackson were charged with Pettway’s murder.

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