Bridgeport homicides decline, but so do solved cases
BRIDGEPORT — Homicides in Bridgeport dropped to 11 in 2018, down from 23 the year before.
But the percentage of those killings that police say have been solved also declined.
At the close of 2017, 19 investigations into that year’s homicides had led to arrests or closed cases — a “clearance rate” for the year 82.6 percent. Another arrest was made in 2018, leaving 20 of the 23 cases closed.
This year, however, detectives have made arrests in only four (36.4 percent) of 2018’s homicides — those of Francine Nyanzanika, Willie Nance, Emily Todd and Clinton Howell.
Nationwide, the homicide clearance rate jumped up from 59.4 percent in 2016 to 61.6 percent in 2017, according to data from FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
Of the solved 2018 cases, Police Chief Armando Perez said, “There were a lot of factors. We were pointed in the right direction quickly. And we just have some really, really good investigators that deployed every technology available to get these arrests to bring justice and maybe a little peace to the families.”
The city’s detectives say they also have some strong leads in most of the unsolved killings.
Shootings in the city have actually declined. As of Thursday, 97 people had been hit by gunfire in Bridgeport in 2018, down from 110 in 2017 and 132 in 2016 (when there were 10 homicides), according to Police Capt. Brian Fitzgerald.
“The numbers are good,” Perez said.
Heading into the fall, the city was on track to have fewer than 10 homicides, which police said has not happened in Bridgeport at least since the department started actively recording and saving such data in 1976.
In March, April, June, July and September this year there were no homicides in the city. There were two in January and again in February, one each in May, August and October and then two homicides each in the months of November and December.
In all but one case, the deaths were caused by gunfire. Nyanzankia, 15, was stabbed to death in February.
“Her uncle murdered her,” Perez said. “That really tugged at our hearts.”
About Bridgeport’s 23 homicides in 2017, Perez said, “We had more domestic violence incidents that turned fatal. Then we had a neighbor dispute over a parking lot and then co-workers fighting over money. Those really inflated the number last year.”
This year, Perez said, the city has seen younger people getting their hands on guns and committing crimes, including murder.
“We need some intervention,” he said. “We have to do something in the schools, in churches. But it’s got to start at home.”
The average age of this year’s 11 murder victims rounds out to 26. The youngest was the most recent, Howell, at the age of 12, while the oldest was Alfanso Anderson, who was 48 when he was shot dead in February.
Anderson’s death remains among the unsolved. Three arrest warrants have been submitted for the people police say are responsible for his at his death at the Sunnyside Inn on Feb. 26, but those warrants haven’t been approved by the state’s attorney, Perez said.
“We just need a little bit more evidence, more proof,” the chief said.
In the case of Eric Heard’s killing on Jan. 31 and Len Allen Smith’s murder on Aug. 13, police said they have some insight into who might be involved.
“They’re solid leads,” Perez said, “but not enough for warrants.”
When it comes to Jawuan Green’s death, Edwin “Jeremy” Mangual’s murder and the double killing of Myoshi Bagley and David Belle, investigators are hoping something will come up to help identify suspects.
Perez said Mangual’s murder was most likely a case of mistaken identity and that Bagley was an unintended target.
Perez said said Smith was “minding his own business” and “never had a problem with anybody” when he was shot in a car outside a deli near Stratford and Union avenues. The suspects in that killing have some criminal affiliations, the chief said.
“We’ve been very aggressive with getting illegal guns off the streets,” Perez said, adding that the department has confiscated over 200 this year. He said a lot of shootings are committed by people in possession of guns they shouldn’t have.
1. Jan. 16: Jawaun Green, 21. Shot at The Snack Shop on Newfield Avenue. No arrests have been made.
2. Jan. 30: Eric “Fetti” Heard, 19. Shot in the head on Price Street. He was on life support at the hospital, but died on Jan. 31. No arrests have been made.
3. Feb: 19: Francine Nyanzanika, 15. Stabbed to death in an apartment on Fairfield Avenue. Her uncle, Richard Segabiro, 31, was charged.
4. Feb. 26: Alfanso Anderson, 48. Shot in a room at the Sunnyside Inn on Lake Street. Arrest warrants are in the works for three suspects.
5. May 24: Willie Nance, 26. Shot near the intersection of Asylum and Plymouth streets. Died after hours in surgery at St. Vincent’s Medical Center. Shardel Ragin, 30, was charged.
6. Aug. 13: Len “Lx” Allen Smith, 25. Shot in a drive-by shooting on Union Avenue near Stratford Avenue. No arrests have been made.
7. Oct. 31: Myoshi Bagley, 41. Unintended target shot on Howard Avenue. No arrests have been made.
8. Oct 31: David Belle, 28. Shot repeatedly on Howard Avenue. Likely the intended target. Died in the hospital on Nov. 6. No arrests have been made.
9. Nov. 27: Edwin “Jeremy” Mangual, 30. Shot in the torso and neck on Laurel Avenue. Likely a case of mistaken identity. No arrests have been made.
10. Dec. 8: Emily Todd, 25. Shot in the head near the Seaview Avenue boat launch. Her body was found the next day. Brandon Roberts, 26, was charged.
11. Dec. 18: Clinton Howell, 12. Unintended target in a drive-by shooting in front of his Willow Street home. Tajay Chambers, 18, Alexander Bolanos, 16, a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old were charged.