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Police Arrest Christmas Eve Shooter

HARTFORD –Police arrested a Bloomfield man with the Dec. 24, 2010 murder of Tyrell Shaw, who died after being taken to St. Francis Hospital.
Joshua Cupe, 29, faces charges of murder, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal use of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of a firearm and reckless endangerment, according to police report.

Cupe’s arraignment has yet to be determined, police said.

According to police,  Cupe allegedly shot 24-year-old Shaw in the torso at 4:36 p.m. on Christmas Eve on Edgewood Street.  Shaw was transported from the scene to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, where he died.

On Friday, police found Cupe hiding in a closet at 24 Elizabeth St. in Bloomfield. He was arrested on escape from an earlier custody charges.

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Police Arrest Three Teens on Wyllys Street

HARTFORD — Three teenagers were arrested for allegedly trying to steal three scooters.

Two 16-year olds from New Britain and Bloomfield were arrested, charged with third degree criminal trespass and released because of their age. The 16-year-old from New Britain was charged with carrying a pistol without a permit along with third degree criminal trespass. He was referred to Hartford Juvenile Court, police said.

The names and addresses of the two 16 year olds were not released because of their ages, police said.

The third suspect, Jack Rodriguez, 19, of 114 Vanderbilt St., West Hartford, was arrested and charged with third degree criminal trespass.

Hartford police said police responded Sunday at about 5: 30 p.m. when a resident called to say three teenagers were  in the backyard at 9 Wyllys St. attempting to cut the chain off three scooters.

Police said they found three teenagers trying to take three scooters.  Officers arrived and secured a 16 year old from New Britain,  a 16 year of from Bloomfield, and a 19-year old from West Hartford.

During a frisk of the 16 year old from New Britain, officers found a loaded Bryco .380 semi-automatic firearm, police said.

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Friend: Omar Thornton “Made Eight or Nine Complaints” About Racism

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

AREAWIDE — Before Omar Thornton allegedly shot eight people in a Manchester warehouse and turned the gun on himself Tuesday, he called his friend Latroy Dale last week. They spoke for two hours.

Dale is the friend who helped Thornton, 34, get that truck driver’s job at the Manchester-based Hartford Distributors, Inc. about two years ago. In 2000, both men entered driving school for their D & L license. When Dale dropped out of the program, Thornton continued on and received his license. When Thornton applied for the job, he already knew how to drive a truck, friends say.

“They had him in that warehouse for about a year and a half, talking about he was slow. They said he wasn’t ready,” James Dale Sr. said in front of his Bloomfield home. Dale Sr. said he spoke to his son Latroy, 30, yesterday. “Omar made about eight or nine complaints to those people…. Omar let it got to him, and he snapped.”

Dale Sr. also said his son is “all choked up” about Tuesday’s tragedy that left families mourning an “unspeakable loss” on both sides.

The Aug. 3 rampage at Hartford Distributors is the state’s deadliest workplace shooting since the Newington-based Connecticut Lottery Corporation shooting on March 6, 1998, when accountant Matthew Beck, 35, killed four lottery officials before committing suicide.

Thornton’s brother Edward Kinder, 38, theorized that something  pushed Thornton to kill those people and then kill himself.

“He’s been dealing with it for two to three years,” Kinder said before he entered his mother’s apartment building in East Hartford today, “They called him porch monkey…nigger…all kinds of names.”

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Family members, friends and causal acquaintances of Thornton are still in stupor after learning Thornton shot eight of his co-workers and reportedly committed suicide. They still don’t believe he shot himself. They still don’t believe he stole a case of beer. And they still have questions, they said.

“Why would he put up with that for so long and then stole a case of beer?  He doesn’t even drink,” said Hartford resident, Lou Daniels, 51.

Daniels is a store clerk at a gas station on Cottage Grove Road in Bloomfield. He said he saw Thornton about two months ago when he came in to grab a hot dog and a soda. Thornton, Daniels said, would make references to the prejudice on his job.

“I told him it was every where; some places are more overt than others,” Daniels said. “He was  such a low-key kind of a person. He was quiet. I think something drove him to that point.”

Teamsters Local 1035 officials said Thornton, a union member, was a disgruntled employee who was “cold as ice.” In an official statement released on Tuesday, they said Thornton filed no complaints about racism on the job. On Wednesday, however, a Teamsters’ spokesman said there was one complaint about a year ago and it was “taken care of right away.”

Also in a press conference on Wednesday, Hartford Distributor’s Marketing Director Brett Hollander said company supervisors caught on tape Thornton stealing beer and asked him to resign. According to Hollander and other company officials, Thornton agreed to resign. Soon after the 7: 00 a.m. disciplinary meeting, Thornton asked for a drink of water and then scuttled off to the kitchen area, where “he must have had a gun.” Minutes later, Thornton appeared and opened fire on President of Teamsters Local 1035 Bryan Cirigliano, 51. Cirigliano was at this meeting as Thornton’s union representative, Secretary Treasurer of Teamsters Local 1035 Christopher Woos said in a statement. Other shootings followed. Company officials said there were about 70 employees at the beer warehouse that morning.

Other victims now dead are Doug Scruton, 56; Bill Ackerman, 51; Francis Fazio Jr., 57; Edwin Kennison, 49; Craig Pepin, 60; and Victor James, 60. Jerome Rosenstein, 77, was in serious condition Wednesday at Hartford Hospital after being wounded.

“It appeared that the first few were targeted,” said Lt. Chris Davis of the Manchester Police Department. “None of them are African Americans.”

Profiles of Victims

Police also said Thornton called his mother shortly after the shooting and said: “I shot the racist bastards.”

Thornton’s mother’s sister Gail Pierson flew up from South Carolina yesterday to “just be with her sister,” Nelle Holliday.

“She’s hurting, too,” Pierson said in a telephone interview. “She lost a son.”

Police Tapes About Shooting at Hartford Distributors

Hartford’s first black mayor and former president of the Greater Hartford branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said he also had questions about events that led up to the tragedy.

“Both allegations could be true. We don’t know. He’s dead. But I don’t think the young man would’ve made up those kinds of allegations. …He probably didn’t know he could turn to organizations to file his complaint.”

Milner expressed concern for the victims but said there were also other concerns.

“I’m more concerned when looking at the TV and seeing the employees coming out. I didn’t see one minority,” Milner said. “I know Steve Hollander is a good and fair person, but that doesn’t have anything to do with it…. I think it’s worthwhile looking into how many minority co-workers are at the company. “

Milner said Thornton probably didn’t know he could reach out to organizations such as a state agency or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where employees can file a charge of discrimination.

Carrie Saxon-Perry is a former mayor of Hartford and now the president of the local NAACP chapter. She said she’s been fielding calls from many asking her what the NAACP will do.

“We will be looking into it and asking questions,” Perry said. “Right now we don’t have anything to say. We need to know what happened.”

Dale Sr. said people keep calling his son, too, and they keep asking him what happened.

“Why do they keep asking that? Everybody who is black knows what happened,” he said, especially when we found out Omar was the only black one there.”

But Teamsters Local officials disputed that claim.

“During the time that Thornton was represented by Local 1035, he reported no concerns about racial discrimination to the union,” Roos said in an official statement Aug. 3.

Lt. Davis said today there is no written incident report yet because police are still investigating.

Related Stories:

MASS MURDER: At least 9 dead in shooting at Hartford Distributors in Manchester

Workplace Violence: Remembering the CT Lottery Headquarters Shooting

Gunman Kills 12, Wounds 31 at Fort Hood

Posted in Bloomfield, Business, East Hartford, Featured, Hartford, Health, Nation, NeighborhoodComments (3)

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