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Friday, December 16, 2016


On December 15, 2016, at 6:36pm Hartford Police Department patrol officers responded to the area of Wethersfield Avenue at Elliot Street in response to a citizen report of a shooting incident. The citizen caller reported the incident
involved her daughter who had attempted to shoot her husband during an altercation. HPD Patrol
 officers responded to the incident location and located the victim (31yo male from Htfd)
 outside the Premium Grocery at 347 Wethersfield Avenue.  The victim stated that he had been
 approached by his estranged wife, Madeline Mercado, while outside the Premium Grocery while he
 was operating his Nissan Maxima. He told officers that she had approached him in his vehicle
 and began banging on the front passenger window with a firearm while he was parked outside the
 grocery. She then pointed the firearm at him and while in close proximity, shot at him once. He
 reported that she then fled the incident location on foot towards 25 Elliot Street. The listed 
vehicle was located on scene and observed to have a broken window, and a hole in the front
 passenger side door consistent with that of a gunshot. The victim was found to have suffered 
no injuries as a result of the incident and declined medical attention. The projectile appeared 
to have lodged within the passenger compartment of the vehicle and the vehicle was seized as 

Detectives from the Hartford Shooting Task Force responded to the location to assist patrol
 officers in the ongoing investigation. Madeline Mercado was located at 25 Elliot Street and 
agreed to provide a statement to the investigators in relation to the incident. She claimed 
she had been involved in an altercation with her estranged husband at the location and was 
forced to discharge her firearm at him in self defense. Madeline Mercado was found to hold a
 valid CT pistol permit and freely turned over her registered firearm that was used during 
the incident, a Ruger LC9 9mm firearm containing five live 9mm rounds.

Both were then transported to HPD to conduct interviews with the STF Detectives in regards to 
the incident. In the course of the Detective's investigation, video surveillance footage was
 located by analysts in the HPD Crime Center. The video was not consistent with the details
 provided by Ms. Mercado. As a result of a thorough review of all recovered evidence and the 
interviews, HPD officers developed probable cause to charge Madeline Mercado in connection to
 the shooting.

Madeline Mercado was transported to HPD booking for processing procedures and charged with 
Criminal Attempt Assault 1st Degree, Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm, Reckless Endangerment
1st Degree, Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree, and Breach of Peace 2nd Degree.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


It is going to take more than just parading victims of gun crime at political events to curb the gun violence in our cities. It is going to take creative efforts and a real commitment to ending gun violence.

Locally, one of the most creative efforts to combat gun violence was created by our own Chief of Police while he was still an inspector with the Connecticut Chief States Attorney's Office. James Rovella gave birth to Hartford's Shooting Task Force when he was directed to "do something" about the gun violence in Hartford.

The results have been phenomenal , even though STF is a shadow of what it once was when Rovella put his initial team together. The original team was a great, and very effective, combination of local, State and Federal authorities working together in a unique partnership that produced very solid results. The reputation of "STF" quickly grew and people carrying illegal guns on our streets felt the results. Very few people, both criminals and law abiding Citizens alike, didn't recognize the initials "STF" and what they were doing on our streets.

A main part of that success is not only the law enforcement aspect, but the court system follow through and sending penalties that show we are serious about illegal guns and shootings on Hartford's streets Unfortunately that message from our State courts is not as strong as it used to be. Budget cuts are hurting everyone and that may be p[art of the reason, but it also seems as though there is a reluctance on the part of the States Attorney and the court to relinquish control of some of these cases to the Federal level for more severe attention.

Sources from both the State and Federal level familiar with the two Court systems have described a type of "turf war". Federal prosecutors are apparently more than willing to take on gun prosecutions that meet their thresholds, but the State courts are unwilling to make that transition or allow the cases to move forward federally. I am told that criminals are more fearful of the Federal system than they are of the State prosecutions with the main reason being the sentences. Apparently a person convicted under Federal law is required to serve 80% of their sentence, no deals , no second chances.

I tend to agree with that, since many of the people winding their way through our State courts seem to be frequent flyers with numerous felony arrests. If we are going to be serious about ridding our streets of illegal guns, more creative partnerships need to be created. A good start to that would be calling upon our Federal Government  to be real partners, not just talking heads at election time. The FBI, ATF, DEA, Homeland Security, US Marshall's. Hell, any Federal agency with powers of arrest that carry a badge and a gun should be part of a reconstituted STF.

We know most municipalities are stretched pretty thin with staffing and the State law enforcement is going to get worse before it gets better. But we don't want to get caught sending the message to criminals that their chances of getting caught are less likely, they need to know their odds of getting caught are better than ever.

Beefing up the Federal involvement would also serve another purpose. Federal agents making the arrests would enable the cases to go Federally right from the start. No turf wars, no jurisdictional bickering.  Federal prosecutions and Federal jail time right from the start. I'm pretty sure that is a message that would be taken seriously by our local criminals who have gotten used to terrorizing our neighborhoods with a slap on the wrist. I am pretty sure that local officers  could be "cross sworn" as Federal agents also allowing them to make Federal arrests

It would probably also serve the purpose of identifying the pipelines used for getting these guns on our streets with Federal agencies cooperating in the investigations and sharing information

It might be a novel idea, but it is also the creativity and "thinking outside the box" we need if we are going to be serious about gun violence


Forgive me for being skeptical, but I have a hard time trusting the word of the Hartford Stadium Authority's Chairman I. Charles Matthews or Mayor Luke Bronin when it comes to the truth behind the stadium project.

I don't think Chairman Matthews or any of the Stadium Authority members has been accurate on any of their time lines or projections from the start.

I am even more skeptical as I read the proposed minutes to be approved at today's Stadium Authority meeting. I question the motivation behind the change of contractors and the necessity of calling the bond. I also question the need to bring in another consultant to oversee the project. I'm sure we could figure out some sort of joke to go with this project, " how many consultant's does it take to oversee completion of a minor league baseball park?" 

Attached are the meeting documents for the meeting scheduled for today, except that meeting was abruptly cancelled .

As I said before, I have a hard time believing anything Matthew's or Bronin say when it comes to the stadium. Read the meeting minutes that were up for approval from meetings right before Centerplan was kicked off the project. Matthews is quoted as saying Mr. Rudnick of Centerplan provided a tour of the facility for him and others and Matthews said "that was impressive" . Mayor Bronin is also quoted as saying "Centerplan had made very good progress over the past few weeks".

These are statements from the HSA's own documents not from another media source or and outsider. So what brought about the hissy fit that resulted in Centrplan's abrupt removal from the project? Was Mayor Bronin offended by something?

Mr. Greene, the owners representative also stated that , he believed, that substantial completion for the May 17th date "was achievable"

Were all of the additional legal fees and additional costs really necessary. How much has been spent on attorneys for this mess and where is the money coming from in a City that is claiming it is broke.Where was the money found to hire another consultant to oversee the project, Cashin, Spinnelli Ferretti. More importantly where is the $3 million dollars plus to pay the recent eminent domain judgement coming from?

What is the plan? And one final question, since today, December 13th was the reported final day for the Solomon's to be able to pull out, did they and was that maybe the reason the HSA meeting for today was cancelled?