Police in Bridgeport, Connecticut say they're putting more patrol officers on the street in a housing project where one person was killed and eight were injured in a shooting early Thursday morning. It's the eighth shooting death in Bridgeport this year. The city has averaged about 15 shooting deaths a year since 2008. Thursday morning's shooting took place at a project called Trumbull Gardens.
Police said shots were fired after a group of people gathered in a parking lot at around 1 a.m., and that among those injured was an elderly woman who was hit by a stray bullet that pierced a wall while she was taking a bath. They said at least two shooters were suspected. 37-year-old Savonnie McNeil of Shelton died in the shooting.
Trumbull Gardens is on Trumbull Avenue in the city's North End. With more than 400 households, it's the city's largest housing project. Area resident Karen Bracey says she feels like no one is walking the streets, talking to residents, or looking out for potential violence.
"I am. But I can't do it by myself. I need the police department's help," she said.
Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph Gaudett says in past years, the department got funding from the Bridgeport Housing Authority to put police officers on a regular Trumbull Gardens beat during summer nights, when he says crime is higher. He says the city couldn't afford those police this year. But he says police still do patrol Trumbull Gardens as part of their regular beats.
"We've been doing the best we can with our current patrol allocation, and we actually have two cars that intersect, their beats intersect, up on Trumbull Avenue."
Gaudett says he's going to put more police on the street in Trumbull Gardens, both on foot and in police cars. He says he's not sure how many extra police will be there, but he says they'll probably be there until the end of the summer.
Back at Trumbull Gardens, Bracey says the project needs permanent security measures.
"Let's hope that between the Bridgeport Police Department and Bridgeport Housing, we can get something straight. We can get cameras up here, and we can get policemen walking," she said.
George Lee Byers, director of the Bridgeport Housing Authority, spoke to Trumbull Gardens residents on Thursday. He said more needs to be done to make Bridgeport's housing projects safer.
"Everybody can agree that Trumbull Gardens needs to be improved, right? Right now I'm not satisfied with what I see. We are working very hard to make sure there are improvements being put in place," he said.
Byers said the city is working on adding security measures like cameras, but right now, he said there's not enough funding in place.