Residents: More Police Needed On Hawkins

After a string of late night violence, residents in the Hawkins Street area said they want to see more police officers on their street after dark.

There was a drive by shooting Sunday.

A department spokesman said police are piecing together what happened.

“There is a lot of information to put together,” Derby police Lt. Sal Frosceno said.

Latest Violence

A woman was shot early Sunday morning near the intersection of Hawkins and Seventh streets. The shooters were apparently driving a blue Mazda 3 with tinted windows when they sprayed the area with bullets.

The victim was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she was treated for “non-life threatening” injuries, police said.

Four Derby officers, including a plain clothes officer and Frosceno, were out canvassing Hawkins Street Monday morning.

“We’ve been taking some statements. We’re trying to identify the shooter and we’re trying to identify the vehicle” connected to Sunday’s shooting, Frosceno said.

The Sunday shooting comes after a 19-year-old man was stabbed on Hawkins Street several times last month. The victim, bleeding, walked to Mr. D’s, a store at the intersection of Hawkins and Seventh, to get help (click the video below to see images from the scene).

Hours later, someone fired shots at a house on Hawkins.

It is unclear whether Sunday’s shooting is related to the events from May.

Also, last year, a man was killed on the Hawthorne Avenue end of Seventh Street in a drive by shooting.

More Police

Residents interviewed on Hawkins and on nearby Sixth Street had slightly differing accounts of what is triggering the recent violence.

However, they all agreed that they want more police officers on the street.

“They (police) are down on Anson Street all day, but there is no one down here at night,” said a Derby resident who did not want to give her name for fear of reprisal.

Derby Police Chief Eugene Mascolo said manpower isn’t an issue on Anson, Hawkins and Sixth streets.

The area receives focused patrols during the day — and through the night, Mascolo said.

In fact, there was an officer in the area at the time of the drive-by shooting Sunday, the chief said.

“We already spend a significant amount of our patrol resources on the area,” Mascolo said. “We also spend a significant amount of our discretionary overtime budget there. This really isn’t a patrol issue. It’s a matter of investigating this particular incident.”

Families Fight

Two Derby residents said the Hawkins Street violence sprung from a dispute between two large families — one from Hawkins Street.

The disputes involve “young adults” who have been trading insults with each other. The insults turned to violence with last month’s stabbing.

Frosceno said police know about the feuding families.

“There’s been a neighborhood quarrel, both families live on Hawkins Street,” he said. “There is a Hatfield-McCoy situation.”

In addition, police are trying to determine whether Sunday’s shooting is related to a large street fight that happened in the neighborhood over the weekend.

In that case, seven Hawkins Street residents were arrested on charges ranging from third-degree assault to breach of peace. Most are due in court June 29.

“There were arrests made over the weekend prior to the shooting. We’re looking at whether there is a connection between those arrests and the drive by shooting as well,” Frosceno said.


Meanwhile, other residents in the area blamed the violence on two sets of youth gangs — the Roc boys, out of Ansonia and PCG (Purple City Goons), from the Derby neighborhood(article continues after Valley crime map).

Residents said the people in the gangs are between 14 and 20 years old.

As proof, residents pointed to an apartment building near Anson Street where they said PCG members used spray paint to cover a Roc boys tag with their own.

Frosceno said he had not heard reports of gang activity in Hawkins Street area.

The Valley Independent Sentinel first reported about the Roc boys in January, when Ansonia residents at a neighborhood meeting attributed several street crimes to a group a young people.

The teens had spray painted their name at Ansonia Middle School and on Wakelee Avenue, residents said at the time.

However, Mascolo, the Derby police chief, said: “There is no indication that this particular case has anything to do with feuds between gangs.”

Residents React

Florence Carroll has lived on Sixth Street for 35 years. She said she used to be able to leave the doors to her residence unlocked.

Photo: Jodie Mozdzer“Now, I can’t go out at night,” she said.

Resident Brenda Thompson requested that Mayor Anthony Staffieri take a walk down the area late at night to see what it’s like.

“Kids need something to do,” Thompson said, suggesting that the city install a playground on Fifth Street where a blighted building was torn down.

Staffieri is on vacation this week. The issue could come up at a department head meeting when he returns, city officials said.

Resident Felicia Taylor said police are a regular presence on Anson Street during the day and early evening hours. She also said the presence needs to spread to Hawkins Avenue late at night.

The chief, meanwhile, said detectives are on the case.

“We are aggressively investigating the case so we can bring those responsible to justice,” Mascolo said.


posted by: Watchman on June 21, 2010  8:20pm

Derby Police Chief Eugene Mascolo, who served a tour of duty as a combat Army Colonel in the Iraq-Aghfanistan War area, I’m sure has a watchful eye over the Derby Hawkins Street crime area, and will staff the necessary manpower, to stem the violence there,