NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – The city of New Haven said things are trending in the right direction when it comes to getting guns off the streets.
However, officials said there is still plenty of work to do.
In the last week, New Haven officers have arrested two men for shots fired incidents, and seized six guns, bringing this year’s total to 157, which is nearly 50 more than this time last year.
Police say one of the guns officers grabbed was on a 19-year-old, who was inside the Grand Café in the Fair Haven neighborhood.
Police and members of the state liquor commission raided the bar last Friday night.
There was a shooting outside that same bar back in early September.
Then, three hours later, acting on a trip, police stopped another individual in the area of 657 Grand Ave., finding a gun in a car.
"He had 120 folds of heroin, 8 bags of cocaine, while being in a stolen vehicle as well, and the gun was a ghost gun with no serial number," New Haven's interim Police Chief Renee Dominguez said.
During a briefing on Wednesday, Dominguez said while they continue to focus on taking in illegal guns, they’ve noticed a decrease.
“We have seen a steady decline. I think a lot of the work is what we’re talking about here. Six guns taken off the street in a week, two shots fired solved and arrested is huge is being able to stop the crimes,” Dominguez said.
In that case, police say they’ve known that suspect, Shavarius Smith since he was a juvenile, and that he recently got out of jail.
“He had only been out a month. He runs with a group that call themselves the ‘Murderside Brims,’ need I say more. He’s been shot twice,” said New Haven Assistant Police Chief Karl Jacobson.
Jacobson said Smith was actually supposed to come in for a project longevity call in, designed to help those at risk for group gun violence, but he never showed.
“What we say to everyone is ‘we want you safe, alive, out of jail. What can we do to help you?’ And then we put a GPS monitoring device and said this is to protect you, so these people that you hang with can’t bring you out to do a drive by shooting and you can use the excuse, the police will know where I am and he basically replied, I’ll do a shooting when you take this off me,” Jacobson said.
Now he’s locked up, and police say they’re looking into a connection to a couple of shootings.
“Those individuals arrested, potentially are perpetrators of future violence and then those guns are stolen. They’ve already been taken in a crime and now potentially we’re taking them off the street so other people aren’t able to commit further crimes with those weapons,” Dominguez said.
Police say they’re looking into the possibility of having federal authorities adopt Smith’s case.
Police say it’s his third gun charge, so a conviction there would likely mean a longer prison sentence.
As for the Café, the recent arrests there will no doubt be part of the city’s case to the state against the bar, when its liquor license is up for renewal next month.