When Javon Zimmerman arrived with friends at RJ’s Cafe in the early morning hours of May 12, a friend he was with at the time later told police, he saw Cordaryl Silva was there too.
The man, who knew Silva and Zimmerman had been feuding recently, warned Zimmerman.
“Don’t worry about him,” Zimmerman replied.
Moments later, according to the friend’s account, Silva shot Zimmerman twice.
The witness said he held Zimmerman in his arms in the bar’s parking lot and, as blood trickled from the side of his friend’s mouth, “I knew he was dead.”
Those details and others come from a 16-page arrest warrant application in the case made public Tuesday at Superior Court in Milford.
The document offers the first public glimpses at the investigation into the shooting, in which Zimmerman, a prime target in a wide-ranging drug investigation, was killed.
The probe eventually involved state police as well as officers from Derby, Ansonia, and Shelton.
Silva — who the Valley Indy subsequently learned was being used as a confidential informant, feeding information about Zimmerman’s drug crew to police — later told authorities he feared for his life on the night of the shooting, but stopped short of explicitly saying he had pulled the trigger.
The warrant, written by Derby Police Lt. Justin Stanko and Sgt. John Netto, had been sealed since Silva was charged in the murder in June.
On Tuesday the clerk’s office, acting on a motion from prosecutors, released a copy of the affidavit with the names and certain other information about some witnesses redacted by a judge.
‘Cordaryl Shot Javon!’
The investigation began almost as soon as the shooting did, according to the warrant, because Derby police officer John Dorosh was patrolling Anson Street around the corner from RJ’s when he heard several gunshots coming from the area of the bar.
Meanwhile, someone ran into the bar immediately after the shots were fired shouting “Cordaryl shot Javon!” according to the warrant.
Dorosh cut through Fifth Street, the warrant says, and saw a man running away from the area. He pursued the man in his cruiser but lost him on Lafayette Street, the warrant says. Days later, Dorosh identified the man as Silva.
Zimmerman was taken to Griffin Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just before 3 a.m.
At the hospital’s emergency room, where several of Zimmerman’s family and friends had gathered in the aftermath of the shooting, an unnamed female told Dorosh that she had spoken to Silva and that “Cordaryl told me he was waiting for him [Javon Zimmerman] and was going to kill him.”
A worker at the bar also told police he saw Silva shoot Zimmerman and gave police a sworn statement two days later saying so.
The employee also said a man he knew as “Tech-One” had arrived at the bar with Zimmerman but fled from the scene before the shooting. The warrant says police showed the employee a photo array and he picked out “Tech-One” as Tyquan Bailey, an associate of Zimmerman’s and a suspect in a Valley drug dealing gang.
The case got a boost when, two days after the murder and a police request for more help from the public, the owner of an apartment building on Elizabeth Street called police and said he had surveillance footage from the night in question.
The warrant says police then reviewed the footage, which showed a man running north on Elizabeth Street after the shooting who “appeared to be holding his waistband as he ran as if trying to prevent something from falling out.”
The footage then depicts the man hide on the porch of the building while police cars fly by.
“Numerous police officers reviewed this video surveillance footage during the course of the investigation,” the warrant says. “Those personally familiar with Cordaryl Silva, each stated, without hesitation, that the black male on the video is Cordaryl Silva.”
Investigators went to the building after viewing the video and found a cell phone on the porch they determined belonged to the mother of Silva’s children, according to the warrant.
The warrant never makes it clear what police think Silva’s specific motive was in shooting Zimmerman.
And at no point in the document do investigators mention the fact that Silva, the prime suspect in the shooting, had been feeding information to Ansonia police in connection with their investigation of the Zimmerman organization.
Ansonia and Derby police believe the Zimmerman family and their associates are the most active drug dealers in the lower Naugatuck Valley.
Silva’s brother, Steven Cook, is connected to the Zimmerman crew. Back in August 2009, Cook participated in the ambush shooting of a man in Derby.
Police theorized Cook and his two accomplices were working with Keyshon Zimmerman, who Ansonia police allege is still running his family’s narcotics business despite serving a prison sentence.
The arrest warrant alleges that Silva became increasingly angry with Javon Zimmerman — who is Keyshon’s brother — because the Zimmermans stopped giving money to Cook for the prison commissary.
The warrant also says the unnamed female who spoke to Dorosh at the hospital referred to several posts Silva had shared on his Facebook wall. The warrant says police found “a litany of posts prior to Javon Zimmerman’s murder documenting a history of threats made by Silva towards Javon Zimmerman and his associates.”
Mosts of the posts were from the week of April 22, according to the warrant, and include Silva talking about being in a physical confrontation during which Zimmerman bit him in the stomach. The warrant says Silva also talked repeatedly about his brother (Cook) being disrespected.
Police investigating Zimmerman’s murder also learned that Silva had thrown rocks at Zimmerman’s cars. In addition, the two had reportedly gotten into a fight outside a gas station in Seymour about a month before the shooting, according to the warrant.
The warrant says police first spoke to Silva the day of the shooting, when they were able to find him at the residence of the mother of his children. He agreed to to an interview at the Ansonia Police Department.
During the interview he told police he was at RJ’s at the time of the shooting and had run from the scene when he heard shots.
The warrant says Silva also “reviewed his ongoing feud with the Zimmerman family” and that he told his probation officer and Ansonia police “that he did not feel safe around this area because of them.”
Asked specifically whether he was involved in the murder, the warrant says Silva would reply, “I don’t wanna be rude but I don’t wanna say much more about that.”
But while getting a ride from police to a relative’s house, the warrant says Silva changed his story about the shooting, and that he promised to tell police more after discussing the situation with his family.
Two days later, the warrant says, Silva called detectives asking to talk.
During the subsequent interview, the warrant says Silva told police that on the day of Zimmerman’s murder, an unnamed friend of Silva’s warned him to “watch out” and “mentioned that he had seen Zimmerman and Scott driving around with ‘strange faces.’”
“Scott” is Roosevelt Scott, a friend of Zimmerman’s and an alleged leader in the drug dealing organization.
“Silva took this to mean that Zimmerman and Scott brought in people from Bridgeport or New Haven to kill him,” the warrant says.
He then told police that he had “talked to a lawyer who told him that the best thing was for him to wait until the cops picked him up before talking.”
“That’s why I called y’all,” the warrant quotes Silva as saying. “I don’t want nobody to think I’m trying to be like them and be slick and get away and dodge shit. At the end of the day I don’t wanna be the only one getting in trouble while the mother f***ers sit out here and be able to do the same shit.”
The warrant also says he told police he had a “plan” to sell his car and have his mother live with his children and their mother “until things smooth over.”
Silva then told police he was standing outside RJ’s the night of the murder and saw the car Zimmerman was in pull in.
‘They Didn’t Come To The Bar For Drinks’
Silva indicates he thought the men were coming to the bar to do him harm.
“Silva states that he ‘knew what the f**k was about to go on — my instincts kicked in . . . they didn’t come to the bar for drinks because it was last call,” the warrant says.
Silva told police that he “took off” before Zimmerman and his friends had a chance to see him. But when a detective replied by saying, “Then what happened with the whole shooting?” Silva gave “an exaggerated pause and exhaled deeply,” according to the warrant.
He then named two men he said were with Zimmerman that night and stated that they are the only ones who can say they saw him there and that they “know exactly what happened.”
The warrant says a detective then asked Silva, “Are you saying you know who did it and it’s not you or . . . “ to which Silva interrupted by saying “I’m not gonna lie – I know exactly what happened.”
Silva then asked if he was “looking at 25” and how much his prison time would be reduced if he had acted in self-defense.
“Honestly, I am not really stressing if it’s not that long and it may sound crazy but I think I can take 15 because I will be home before I am 40,” Silva, 25, reportedly said.
“I’m ready to go in but at the same time I definitely want these mother f***ers to go down too and I don’t know how I’m gonna do it,” Silva added, according to the warrant.
That interview also ended with Silva promising to tell detectives more once he had discussed the issue with his family.
But he never called them back, according to the warrant, so when police learned a probation violation warrant had been issued for Silva, on May 17 they went to his father’s apartment on Main Street in Ansonia to see if he was there.
The warrant says they knocked several times but there was no answer, so they shouted “POLICE – OPEN THE DOOR.” A male voice from inside the apartment replied “It’s the police?” After officers confirmed they were police officers, the warrant says Silva opened the door and said “I just had to make sure,” before being taken into custody.
Police took Silva to the state police Troop I Barracks in Bethany, the warrant says, and gave them an interview that began with him reiterating that he feared for his life because of the Zimmerman family.
“Silva insinuated that the homicide occurred because he did not receive the help he requested and would not give a sworn written statement with the police until he had time to make arrangements to ensure his family would be safe from retaliation,” the warrant says.
‘Never Confirmed Or Denied The Allegation’
With respect to the murder itself, Silva told police that while at RJ’s, several people he declined to name told him to “watch his back.”
“Specifically, one male said, ‘Watch your back because that big n***a from New Haven is coming up with Javon,” the warrant says.
Silva told police a man he knew as “Rock” was the person “known for killing people,” according to the warrant.
At some point when he walked out of the bar, he told police, he saw Zimmerman’s car, with Tyquan Bailey in the driver’s seat, “Rock” in the front passenger’s seat, and Zimmerman in the back seat.
He admitted to “having a confrontation” with Zimmerman but “refused to go into any details or specifics.” The warrant says police then “directly asked Silva why he shot Javon Zimmerman, to which Silva did not respond and never confirmed or denied the allegation.”
‘The Only Person In The World Who Saw What Happened’
Perhaps the biggest break in the case came June 1, when several people were arrested as part of an investigation by the Ansonia Police Department into drug dealing in the area.
The warrant says investigators “learned from numerous people” that two of the men arrested June 1 were with Zimmerman at the time of the shooting.
During interviews on June 1 and 2 at the Derby Police Department, the warrant says one of the men fingered Silva as Zimmerman’s shooter and told police that he is “the only person in the world who saw what happened.”
The man eventually gave police a sworn statement saying he was in the front passenger’s seat of the car Zimmerman was in that night. He told police they had gone to RJ’s to look for girls, but that he didn’t want to go “because Cordaryl had caused some problems with us” there before.
When they pulled up to the bar, the man told police he saw Silva and warned Zimmerman, to which Zimmerman said “Don’t worry about him.”
Silva then emerged from the bar as Zimmerman and his friends were getting out of their car, the man told police. Silva then walked out of sight briefly. The man told police he thought Silva was going to get a rock to throw at the car, so he called out to Zimmerman, who got back into the car as the driver started to drive to the area Silva had just walked.
The warrant says the man told police he then saw Silva walking from the front of the bar with something in his right hand he eventually saw was a gun.
The man told police Silva was saying “F**k you Javon!” and “calling out” Zimmerman, who got out of the car while saying “I’m tired of this bullshit.”
Zimmerman walked toward Silva, the man told police, but only got to about six or seven feet from him.
The man told police Silva shot Zimmerman twice, then turned and ran.
Silva has been behind bars since his arrest on the probation violation charge days after the shooting. He is scheduled to appear at Superior Court in Milford again on Oct. 10.