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  • Police ID man beaten to death in Bridgeport

    BRIDGEPORT — A 55-year-old man was beaten to death on the East Side Sunday, according to police.

    In a prepared statement, Capt. Brian Fitzgerald said the victim was identified as Miguel Lopez.

    Fitzgerald said police were called to the Mambo Grocery at 731 Noble Ave. about 9:30 p.m. on a report of an assault.

    Cops found Lopez lying on the floor inside the store, Fitzgerald said.

    “Lopez was unable to communicate with officers and was transported by medics to Bridgeport Hospital where he died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the assault,” Fitzgerald said. “The assault may have occurred over a dispute involving money owed to the assailants.”

    Fitzgerald said three Hispanic males could be seen on surveillance video chasing Lopez. One of the men attacked him with a long wooden stick or bat, and a second is seen kicking him repeatedly while he was on the ground.

    Anyone with information about this homicide, including the identities of the assailants depicted in the video are asked to contact Detective Heanue at 203-581-5242.

    An ambulance brought the victim to Bridgeport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:45 p.m.

    The cause of death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy Monday morning at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, police said.

    The death is the city’s eighth homicide of the year, and the second of 2019 not involving a shooting.

    The most recent homicide in Bridgeport was the March 10 shooting of 21-year-old Tyron Heard on Hollister Avenue. No arrests have been made.

    Five days before Heard’s death, 34-year-old Jerrell Gatewood — who...

  • Bridgeport man arrested in home invasion, kidnapping

    WATERTOWN - A Bridgeport man is facing home invasion and kidnapping charges after he and others allegedly held a male victim at gunpoint and forced the man to turn over a large sum of money and drugs from his Oakville home in late April, police said.

    Youssef Mohamad, 22, of Tremont Avenue, Bridgeport, was located by Watertown police with the help of the Bridgeport Gang Task Force, shortly after the incident occurred on April 23, police said.

    Watertown officers, who responded to a report that a male victim had been kidnapped at gunpoint in the area of Falls Avenue and Sunnyside Avenue, discovered that the male victim had been driven by a woman to a location near his home with a car occupied by two males following behind, police said.

    She pulled over and allowed the two males in the other car to get into the backseat, reports said.

    One of the males, later identified as Mohamad, pointed a Colt .45 caliber handgun at the male victim while demanding "money and drugs," police said.

    The male victim said he was then driven back to his house where Mohamad and a third male forced him inside, police said. While inside the three men stole a large amount of cash and electronics, police said.

    The woman and the three men left the victim uninjured and drove off, police said.

    Detectives identified Mohamad as the suspect who was carrying the gun and located him April 28 with the help of the Bridgeport Gang Task Force, police said.

    He was carrying drugs at the time so he was arrested and held on $20,000 bond until Watertown police served him with an arrest warrant Wednesday charging him with first-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree kidnapping with a firearm, first-degree robbery, home invasion,...

  • Activists demand clean energy funds be used for clean energy

    HARTFORD — Environmental activists are pressuring lawmakers to reverse a decision to divert clean energy funds to other uses in the wake of recent billion-dollar state budget deficits.

    A petition signed by over 2,000 residents in 114 towns was submitted to Gov. Ned Lamont and legislative leaders on Friday in effort to halt diversion of some $145 million paid annually by electric customers to help develop clean and cheaper energy sources, such as solar and wind power.

    The latest sweep of $54 million from the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund is scheduled in June.

    "Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents struggle to pay their energy bills," said Amanda Schoen, deputy director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.

    "The Energy Efficiency Fund is critical to helping them lower their rates while also cutting our carbon footprint and supporting over thirty-four thousand good, local clean energy jobs," Schoen said.

    "Our lawmakers have said they want to make energy more affordable, fight climate change, and grow our economy," Schoen added "That starts with putting an end to the upcoming diversion of the Energy Efficiency Fund before it's too late."

    bcummings@ctpost.com

    Lawmakers diverted the funds to help balance the state budget, a move environmental groups and activists challenged in federal court last year. The court ruled against the activists, saying the state has the authority to decide how the funds are used even though the money comes from ratepayers through a small fee on their monthly electric bill.

  • Armed robber escapes with cash from CT 7-Eleven

    NAUGATUCK - Police are looking for a suspect in an armed robbery of the 7-Eleven on Rubber Avenue early Tuesday morning.

    The robbery happened shortly after 4 a.m.

    “The suspect pointed a black 1911 style handgun and demanded all the cash from the registers,” police said.

    This case remains active and Naugatuck Detectives continue to investigate.

    Anyone with information regarding the incident contact the Naugatuck PD at (203) 729-5221 or the NPD Confidential Tip Line at (203) 720-1010.

  • Recalled parts threaten Metro-North PTC safety deadline

    Hundreds of defective antenna assemblies for Metro-North’s long anticipated Positive Train Control safety system have been recalled, threatening further delays in an already delayed project.

    More than 1,200 scanner assemblies that allow trains to communicate with a central system were recalled over defective parts. The signals allow the lifesaving PTC system to control trains, slowing or stopping them if they are operating in an unsafe manner.

    “I will tell you none of us accept this level of failure,” said Neal Zuckerman, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member during a meeting this week in New York City.

    “It is completely unacceptable,” Zuckerman said.

    The problem centers around antenna assemblies manufactured by Siemens Rail Automation for Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road under a $428 million contract shared with Bombardier Transportation.

    The PTC system transmits signals to and from rail cars to a central computer that tracks movement, speed and track conditions.

    So far, 285 defective units were recalled from Metro-North trains and are due to be replaced by July.

    Another 976 defective units were recalled for LIRR trains and are scheduled to be replaced by October, MTA officials said.

    Deborah Chin, the PTC project manager, said the recall will not cause the railroads to miss the Dec. 31, 2020 federal deadline to fully install PTC control on its trains.

    “We still remain on target to implement by end of 2020,” Chin said.

    Metro-North and its parent, the MTA, are under pressure to meet that deadline. The railroad already missed a December 2018 deadline to install the system.

    The railroads received a two-year...

  • Derby police arrest 2 after assault outside tavern

    DERBY - Two men have been arrested following an assault near the River Rock Tavern on Friday night.

    Lt. Salvatore F. Frosceno said police were called to a Bank Street address Friday night on a report that someone was being assaulted.

    “That assault victim ran (around the block) into the River Rock Tavern. His two assailants chased after him and waited outside. After a short time the victim went back outside and was again assaulted,” Frosceno said.

    The police investigation led to the arrest of two people.

    Joseph Lamb, 24, of Everette Street in West Haven and Keshon Earl, 27, were was charged with second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit second-degree assault and and breach of peace.

  • Study: Natural gas pipelines leaking in Danbury, other cities

    A new survey of natural gas pipelines in Danbury and other Connecticut cities shows methane is seeping into the air from underground pipes and could cause a disaster similar to the explosions last year that rocked three Massachusetts towns.

    “It’s just a matter of rate and time and situation that determines if any of these leaks are going to be dangerous,” said Nathan Phillips, a University of Boston professor who participated in the study conducted for the Connecticut Chapter of the Sierra Club.

    The study found an average of 3.6 leaks per mile of underground gas lines in Danbury. The Hartford results showed an average of 4.3 leaks per mile and 2.6 leaks per mile in New London.

    “The potential for what happened in the Merrimack Valley [in Massachusetts] exists in Connecticut,” Phillips said. “It was the same kind of low pressure gas line that the study surveyed.”

    Last September, exploding underground gas lines in Massachusetts damaged as many as 40 homes and caused over 80 individual fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

    The cause of the explosions was blamed on human error related to nearby construction work.

    Sierra Club members and others said it’s time to strengthen laws regarding leaks while transitioning from carbon-based energy sources to renewable energy.

    “This report shows again that Connecticut has a real problem with gas leaking from pipes, and that we urgently need legislation that incentivizes gas companies to repair this ongoing hazard,” said Leah Lopez Schmalz, chief program officer for the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.

    Mitch Gross, an Eversource spokesman, said the company has a “comprehensive” maintenance, inspection and management...

  • Lamont plans big changes for UConn board

    Gov. Ned Lamont intends to install “a slate” of new trustees at the University of Connecticut, starting with the replacement of its chairman, Thomas E. Kruger, and one of its long-serving members, Denis J. Nayden, a UConn donor and major financial backer of the governor’s Republican opponent, Bob Stefanowski.

    Administration officials confirmed the imminent departure of Kruger, but declined to name others who will not be reappointed. Multiple sources say one is Nayden, a former GE Capital chief executive officer who has served as a UConn trustee during the administrations of Lamont’s three predecessors, two Republicans and a Democrat.

    Nayden’s support of Stefanowski included a $100,000 contribution to a super PAC that helped the GOP candidate buy attack ads directed at Lamont.

    The changes at UConn are the latest sign that the Lamont administration intends to show a stronger hand in the governance of the state’s flagship university, a break with previous governors who seldom forced changes on the board. A businessman, Lamont has said UConn needs to be a central element of the state’s efforts to grow the economy.

    “It is not the governor’s right and privilege, it’s the governor’s responsibility to select a chair for the board. It is his responsibility to select members of that board that are up” for reappointment, said Ryan Drajewicz, Lamont’s chief of staff. “He takes that very seriously, like he did with the selection of the next president.”

    One of Lamont’s first acts after taking office in January was to postpone selection of a new president until he became comfortable with the ability and willingness of the search committee’s choice, Thomas C. Katsouleas, to make UConn a bigger partner in economic and...

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