Violent rivalry explodes in courthouse riot

January 28, 2019

BRIDGEPORT - One of the most violent rivalries in recent years exploded in a riot in the lobby of the Golden Hill Street court Monday morning.

More than two dozen people - men and women - battled each other quickly overwhelming the meager force of judicial marshals as horrified onlookers ran for cover.

Local and state police, called to the scene, blocked off Golden Hill Street and barred entrance to the courthouse as reinforcements rushed to help the marshals get order in the court.

One marshal was injured and at least two people were arrested.

Social media had been blowing up all day Sunday following the arrest of 39-year-old Jayvell Washington for the fatal shooting on Saturday of 50-year-old Eugene Rogers.

“Where were the police, they should have known this was going to happen,” said Tanisha Pierce, Rogers’ cousin. “These people were fighting my family in the courthouse, this never should have happened.”

After the courthouse was cleared Washington was arraigned on charges of murder, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of a pistol without a permit. Superior Court Judge Tracy Lee Dayton ordered him held in lieu of $3 million bond and continued the case to Feb. 13.

Washington and members of the once notorious Rogers family have been engaged in a violent series of confrontations since the summer of 2017, according to police.

At one point Mayor Joseph Ganim was shot out as he consoled the Rogers family after a shooting.

On July 1, 2017, Chaz Rogers was shot to death on Stratford Avenue. His older brother, Hassan “Boobie” Rogers was later arrested for allegedly shooting at a friend of Washington’s who he blamed for killing his brother.

Then on July 23, 2017, Eugene Rogers was walking on Trumbull Avenue when police said he was shot twice in the abdomen. He survived that shooting. Washington, who had served seven years in prison for a 1998 manslaughter conviction, was charged with attempted murder, first-degree assault, illegal use of a firearm and criminal use of a firearm for shooting Eugene Rogers. He was released after posting $500,000 bond.

Shortly after 9 p.m. on Saturday, police said officers were dispatched by Shot Spotter to the Citgo gas station and Pitt Stop convenience store on Reservoir Avenue.

When officers got there, they found Eugene Rogers lying on the ground motionless, police said. He was bleeding from a bullet wound in his head and police said he had a silver and black gun in his left hand.

Police said the gas station’s video surveillance showed Washington parked in a Mini Cooper at the gas station when he was approached by Rogers. Rogers began to pull a handgun from the pocket of his hooded sweatshirt when police said Washington drew first and fired. Washington then drove off.

Police said they determined that Washington was wearing a GPS monitoring bracelet as a result of the conditions of his bond. They said detectives traced him to Fairview Avenue where they arrested him in front of his girlfriend’s home.

Asked if he knew why detectives were there, police said Washington replied, “Yeah,” and placed his hands behind his back.

Update hourly