Accused Hamden Murderer is a Popular New Haven Hip Hop Artist

The man accused of shooting and killing a Hamden man in his Circular Avenue apartment earlier this month is a well-known musician born and raised in New Haven.

Nicholas Papantoniou, also known by his stage name "Nickel P," is wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of 56-year-old Larry Dildy on Oct. 19.

Police say Papantoniou, 38, and William Coutermash, 33, knocked on the door of Dildy's second-story apartment that afternoon and got into a fight during which Dildy was shot.

"We have clothing, we have video records, we have a firearm that we believe was used in commission of this crime; we have a folding knife that was seized and we believe was used in the commission of this crime," Hamden police Chief Thomas Wydra said, explaining the evidence that he says links Papantoniou to the fatal shooting.

Residents familiar with the city's music scene say Papantoniou is a hip-hop performer who has played concerts in the area for years.

"Nickel P's" public Facebook page says his "music and lyrics are the perfect example of art imitating life" and promotes his performances, including some at popular New Haven music venue Toad's Place.

Police haven't released any information about the relationship between Dildy and the suspects but said the attack does not appear to be random.

New Haven residents say Papantoniou used to frequent the Three Sheets bar on Elm Street, but they haven't seen him in about three weeks.

Police say he's on the loose and is considered "armed and extremely dangerous."

Court records show that Papantoniou has been previously convicted on drug, weapon and assault charges, among others. West Haven police are also working to arrest Papantoniou on unrelated assault charges.

Coutermash was charged with felony murder on Friday, although authorities consider him a conspirator and say Papantoniou is suspected of pulling the trigger.

Hamden police have prepared an arrest warrant for Papantoniou and are asking anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact them immediately at 203-230-4041.

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