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Arrest made in 12-year-old’s murder

December 24, 2018

BRIDGEPORT — A teenager in custody in connection with an earlier assault at Central High School was charged Monday with the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Clinton Howell.

Tajay Chambers, 18, was charged with murder with special circumstances, carrying a pistol without a permit, second-degree larceny and risk of injury to a child.

Chambers is expected to be arraigned in Superior Court on Wednesday.

Police Chief Armando Perez confirmed the arrest and said that three juveniles were also going to be charged in connection with the case.

“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.

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.

Capt. Brian Fitzgerald said the boy was rushed to Bridgeport Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time after, 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 by mistake, 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.

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