PD: New Haven woman shot in chest by stray bullet

(WTNH/Brian Spyros)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Police are investigating after a woman was shot in the chest while in her New Haven own home early Thursday. It happened on Shelton Avenue. Police say the victim, a 59-year-old woman, was in her second floor apartment when she heard gunfire on the street outside. When she went to the window to see what was going on, a bullet hit her in the chest.

The victim was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital and is expected to be okay. According to police, she sustained a surface wound and is in stable condition. Police say she was not the intended target and that it appears she was hit by a stray bullet.

“In this case, truer than I think I’ve ever seen before this was an innocent, innocent person,” said Officer David Hartman of the New Haven Police Department.

Many neighbors no longer feel safe. Some of them heard the gunfire out in the street.

“It woke me up out of my sleep so me and the kids, we all ran outside to see what was going on,” said neighbor Racquel White. “We saw a cop running around the corner chasing somebody.”

Police only have vague descriptions of three suspects, who were seen arguing in the street just before the gunfire started. ShotSpotter and 911 calls alerted the police. When they arrived, they found 12 shell casings from two different types of guns. They also found ballistic evidence over an entire block on Read Street, from Shelton Avenue to Goodyear Street. Hamden police also responded to the scene with a canine to track the suspects but that proved unsuccessful.

A witness in the area also told police that he saw three men near a rear yard on Read Street and that one of them appeared to be hiding beneath a Honda as officers searched the area.

Police say another car was also struck by the bullet, this one in the driveway of a Shelton Avenue home. Many neighbors are now scared.

“The neighborhood is terrible. There’s too much drama, too much chaos, a lot of violence. It’s not good over here,” said a neighbor who was too afraid to give her name.

However, not everyone is worried. Leonard Jahad works with at risk youth in the neighborhood. He also used to live there.

“I’ve always felt safe here,” he said. “I have a gun but I don’t carry it. I feel very safe here because of the relationships we have in the community.”

Still, neighbors have noticed that many do have guns. Though gun violence is down in New Haven, neighbors see more of it in the summer months. Some are now thinking of leaving the area.

“It’s horrific. I just moved here in February. I think I’m moving to a nice neighborhood, very family oriented and then all of a sudden it’s just bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! And it was just terrifying,” said White.

Police are not releasing the victim’s identity. The incident remains under investigation. Police are asking anyone who witnessed this crime to call them at 203-946-6304. Calls can be made anonymously.

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