Three New Haven police officers were taken off the job this weekend because are accused of shooting guns outside a popular restaurant while they were off-duty.
The problems started just feet away from Christopher Martin’s Restaurant and Pub around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, police said.
“Just a loud popping sound ... something sounded off,” said Mike David Jackson, who said he woke up to the gunshots right outside his window. “I lived in Brooklyn and I didn’t even have to worry about things like this.”
Police showed up after getting a 911 call. After scouring the scene near State and Clark streets and collecting evidence, they linked three off-duty New Haven police to the illegal gunfire, police said.
On Sunday, it was unclear if they were shooting at someone.
“Why would they be doing that? It's so dangerous,” neighbor Mallory Ditchey said.
New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman immediately launched an investigation and put the three officers on administrative leave. The officers also turned in their weapons and badges on Sunday afternoon. The officers' names haven’t been released.
“Of course it's surprising. The New Haven Police Department holds its officers to very high standard,” Chief Esserman said.
NBC Connecticut asked the police chief if the officers had been drinking before the alleged incident or if they shot their city-issued guns because they were allowed to carry them while off-duty.
These were answers he couldn’t provide.
“We will investigate this case thoroughly until we have all the answers,” Esserman said.
Although the bullets didn’t strike anyone or do any damage, people who live nearby were outraged that their own officers were accused of putting them at risk.
“They're here to protect us. I don’t know why they would be shooting guns around here,” Mallory Ditchey said.
The investigation might take a few days to complete.