A Bolton man has been taken into custody in East Hartford after Connecticut State Police seized several guns during a search of his home, East Hartford Police said Friday.
East Hartford police received a tip from a citizen who recognized Gramegna from the news. Police say he was taken into custody in the woods off Vernon Road.
"The citizen pointed him out, and he was taken into custody after. East Hartford did an excellent job locating him," said State Police Colonel Stavros Mellekas. "This was a see something, say something. You never know what you prevented."
According to the arrest warrant, this all began on January 31. Troopers were investigating a domestic violence incident at a home on Shoddy Mill Road in Bolton. Gramegna was charged with strangulation, unlawful restraint, third-degree assault, disorderly conduct, interfering with police, and assault on a police officer.
In court paperwork police say "... Gramegna made statements that he does not recognize any State or Federal laws as applying to him and he refused to sign and to obey the Family Violence Conditions of Release form and was going to go back to his residence ..."
Documents say that according to the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit, the 42-year-old has 18 registered firearms and three unregistered firearms.
"When asked where his weapons were, Gramegna claimed he had sold them."
A few days later on February 4, Troopers say they received word that a protective order had been issued against Gramegna and that he was required to surrender or transfer all firearms and ammunition.
On that same day, documents say Gramegna was arrested for violating the protective order and that "... Gramegna again stated that he sold his firearms and that we would never find them."
Police received a search and seizure warrant for the Shoddy Mill Road home and executed it the next day. The arrest warrant states that "... during the execution of the search warrant, none of the registered or unregistered firearms known to the State Police Special Licensing and Firearms Unit were located in the residence. There was a gun safe in Gramegna's bedroom, but the firearms had been removed. However, in the main residence on the property, in the lower level storage room, investigators located a cut-out in the drywall. Inside the cut-out, investigators observed and seized two unregistered firearms, a SKS semi-automatic rifle with high capacity magazines, and a 12 gauge shotgun. Additionally, investigators located and seized high capacity .22 caliber magazines and thousands of rounds of rifle, shotgun and handgun ammunition."
During the execution of the warrant it was also noted that an extensive video surveillance system had been installed in and around the property.
"That based on recent police investigations, Michael Gramegna has been known to hide firearms in his residence and about the surrounding property, to include outbuildings and abandoned cars on the property. Recently, Gramegna has also reached out on 'Facebook' looking for more associates to join 'his cause.' In the recent past, associates of his have interfered with police officers trying to arrest Gramegna.”
Court paperwork says that DCF was told about the incident and that Gramegna has six of his children, who range from 4 to 9 years old, living with him in the residence. DCF decided to temporarily remove the children from his care and reported that two of the kids described a panic room somewhere on the property that was stocked with food, water, and firearms.
The arrest warrant says that when DCF social workers went to a local elementary school where they planned to take custody of two of the suspect's children, that "... teachers heard the children make statements to school administrators regarding Gramegna. The children made statements such as, 'He (Gramegna) is going to kill all of you,' 'I can't wait until my dad gets here, You're all going to be sorry,' 'Lock-down doesn't matter. My dad will come through that (main office) window,' 'He's going to shoot some people, you don't know how mad he's going to be.'"
Police and the FBI executed another search warrant on February 20 and reported finding a pistol and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. State police say an additional 15 firearms were located off site, one of those stolen. Investigators report several of the firearms seized were not registered.
Gramegna is being held without bond and will appear in court on Monday.