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Downtown BID Responds to Shooting

By Jeffrey B. Cohen

June 08, 2009

SECOND EVENING UPDATE: Police now say they will force the owner of The Mansion nightclub to hire a police detail during evening hours following the weekend's shooting. They also say the owner of the pizzeria involved has volunteered to close at 7 p.m. The press release is attached below.

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EVENING UPDATE: Mayor Eddie A. Perez says in a press release (below) that the alleged shooter in the pizzeria incident "behind bars or being closely supervised by parole officers", instead of at a pizza parlor at 2:30 a.m.

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AFTERNOON UPDATE: A 21-year-old suspect in a shooting at a downtown pizzeria that left five people injured is being held on $800,000 bail after his arraignment at Superior Court in Hartford today. Read more here.

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The man arrested in connection with the shooting outside a downtown pizzeria this weekend is to be in court this afternoon. Check Courant.com for more details shortly.

Meanwhile, downtown property owners voiced their concern about the shootings in a letter to Mayor Eddie A. Perez, the city council, and the chief of police. The letter (below) asks the city to require the involved club owners to hire police details, refer the matter to the chief state's attorney's office to consider The Mansion club a nuisance, and more.

"For the last two days, television news and newspapers have run high profile coverage of the two shootings," wrote Michael Zaleski, head of the Downtown Business Improvement District. "The damaging effect that these acts of violent crime will have on the Downtown and its businesses is incalculable."

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June 8, 2009

Dear Mayor Perez, Council President Torres, Council Members & Chief Roberts:

It is imperative that the City of Hartford and the Hartford Police Department act quickly to deal with what is becoming an all too familiar occurrence in Downtown Hartford. In two separate incidents early Saturday morning, six people were reportedly shot at The Mansion (former Club Blu) and Papa's Pizza. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that shootings and violent crime have happened in and around each of these establishments. For Downtown Hartford to be successful, this has to stop.

The Hartford Business Improvement District is requesting that the City of Hartford and Hartford Police Department address this situation immediately. At a minimum, the Hartford BID requests the following:

Reinstitution of Section 29-17 of the Municipal Code for The Mansion (former Club Blu) - As you know, 29-17 empowers the chief of police to require management of the club to hire private duty officers for a nightly police detail. In the past, a sergeant and four police officers have been required. This police detail must be reinstituted immediately at The Mansion (former Club Blu).

Reapplication to the State's Attorney's Office for The Mansion (former Club Blu) to be considered under the State's Nuisance Abatement Act - Last year, Captain Joe Buyak's request to the State's Attorney's Office to consider The Mansion (former Club Blu) under the Nuisance Abatement Act was denied. It is my understanding their reasoning was many of the incidents did not occur in the club. Saturday's shooting reportedly occurred in The Mansion (former Club Blu). How many more shootings or stabbings must occur before the State's Attorney's Office gets involved?

Utilize 29-17 to require the management of Papa's Pizza to hire a private duty job police officer at their expense for the late night hours of Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. This is not the first shooting in Papa's Pizza and certainly not the first time HPD has responded to a violent crime at the pizza place. We believe a dedicated police presence in the pizzeria would go a long way towards maintaining order and preventing future violent incidents.

Consider extending the recent ban on convenience stores operating 24 hours a day to pizzerias and other food establishments in the city. Establishments like Papa's Pizza that stay open very late into the morning can attract an unruly intoxicated crowd that congregates in the Downtown. These people have spent the evening elsewhere and meet up at Papa's and loiter in Downtown parking lots creating opportunities for incidents.

For the last two days, television news and newspapers have run high profile coverage of the two shootings. The damaging effect that these acts of violent crime will have on the Downtown and its businesses is incalculable.

The City of Hartford and Hartford Police Department must act decisively now to put an end to this violence and safeguard the millions of dollars of public and private investments in Downtown made by the City, State and property owners large and small.

Sincerely,

Michael Zaleski

Executive Director

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PEREZ PRESS RELEASE

MAYOR CALLS ON STATE TO STRENGTHEN SUPERVISION

OF THOSE ON PROBATION AND PAROLE

---NEWS RELEASE---

(June 9, 2009)--- The City of Hartford isn't wasting any time in regards to responding to this weekend's violence. Hartford Police arrested a convicted felon for allegedly shooting an individual at a Downtown Hartford pizza parlor. Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez is once again calling on the State Department of Correction and the Judicial Branch to strengthen their supervision of dangerous felons released into the community.

The alleged shooter, Byron Taylor, has multiple felony convictions including an 11/7/2005 conviction for conspiracy to commit felony assault. According to Judicial Records, he was sentenced to 15 years in jail with a requirement he serve at least 5 years of that sentence. It appears the Department of Correction released Taylor into the community before the end of the five-year period of incarceration.

"Time and time again, Hartford police are encountering individuals with connections to violent acts like those this weekend who are on probation and parole and are allegedly being supervised by state agencies. Though the facts are still emerging about the shootings this weekend, one fact is clear, if the alleged shooter Byron Taylor was either completing his five-year sentence behind bars or being closely supervised by parole officers, he could not have been in the midst of a shooting at 2:30 am in a crowded Hartford pizza parlor. Chief Roberts has assured me the police department is taking a number of steps to make sure we don't have a repeat of the incidents this weekend or any weekend. However, the state agencies who are supervising these violent felons on probation and parole have to step up their efforts to keep the public safe," Mayor Perez stated.

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HARTFORD POLICE NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Monday, June 8 , 2009

Hartford Police Enforce City Ordinance in Response to Weekend Violence

Hartford - Following a serious assault with a firearm this past weekend at The Mansion nightclub, located at 183-191 Ann Uccello Street, Hartford Police announced today that they will be enforcing Hartford Municipal Code Section 29-17 by requiring the owner of The Mansion nightclub to hire a police detail during evening business hours.

The provisions of the ordinance (see below) require public safety police details for places of public amusement and extended hours businesses where the Chief of Police deems the "public safety of the patrons, invitees, employees or the general public require the deployment of a police detail to the premises."

In addition, during a meeting with the owner of Papas Pizza, the location of a second shooting this past weekend, Hartford Police learned that the restaurant will voluntarily close at 7:00 p.m. daily.

Furthermore, Hartford Police will continue to deploy a downtown special detail of a sergeant and six patrol officers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to ensure the safety of residents, patrons and businesses enjoying downtown entertainment venues.

Detectives of the HPD's Major Crimes Division continue to investigate both shooting incidents and ask anyone with information to call Hartford Crime Stoppers at 860-722-TIPS (8477).

Reprinted with permission of the CityLine blog of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the CityLine at http://blogs.courant.com/cityline/ and the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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