NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The Yale gunman hoax that paralyzed the city Nov. 25 was born out of a “grudge against police,” New Haven police chief Dean Esserman said at a press conference Wednesday.
Fifty-year-old Jeffrey Jones of Westbrook is charged with making the 911 call from a phone booth in the 300 block of Columbus Avenue that warned of a gunman coming to shoot up the campus and which sent Yale University and parts of downtown into lockdown.
But it turned out to be a hoax and police say the voice of the caller belongs to Jones, who Esserman said has a history of instigating police.
“It seems we are in good company with his angers and concerns,” he said.
Esserman said Jones was recently arrested for allegedly putting nails under the tires of 75 police cars. And he’s a suspect in similar fake 911 calls at Hillhouse High School and in Branford.
On Wednesday, Jones was ordered held on $250,000 bond on charges of falsely reporting an incident, threatening, reckless endangerment and misuse of the 911 system.
The suspect’s mother said police were desperate to make an arrest and her son is innocent.
“I don’t think they have a real reason to target him,” said Jacqueline Sperry. “They don’t have anyone so, since Jeffrey has had a problem before … .”
Yale students gave a mixed reaction.
“It’s good that they caught someone and that this person can be addressed,” said Elizabeth Emmanuel.
“It’s pretty quick that they got him,” added William Chang, “but I think it’s important we step back and take a look at the details before proceeding with anything.”
Jones is due back in court May 7.
AJ Walker reporting