Police report: New Haven man admits role in Bridgeport murder

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BRIDGEPORT–While he admitted to being involved in homicides in both New Haven in Bridgeport, 22-year-old Leighton Vanderberg says he was not the trigger man in the killing of Bridgeport store owner Jose Salgado Saturday afternoon.

Vanderberg was arraigned on felony murder charges in Bridgeport Superior Court Thursday. A judge set bond at $1 million.

Immediately following the arraignment, a woman identifying herself as Vanderberg’s sister cautioned the assembled media.

“Yeah, somebody lost their life and I am sorry that the family is going through that, but you don’t have facts,” the women said in her profanity laced comments. “So, don’t make things up. It’s allegedly!”

“My husband, Leighton Vanderberg, is completely innocent and justice will show that,” exclaimed said Jyne Daniels Vanderberg, the suspect’s wife.

But according to the arrest warrant affidavit, Vanderberg told his probation officer that he had been involved in several shootings, including, homicides in New Haven and Bridgeport.

On Tuesday, Vanderberg told New Haven police detectives, who were speaking to him about another matter, that the image of the homicide victim’s wife, from the Bridgeport shooting was weighing heavy on him and he wanted to get it off his chest.

After this admission, New Haven police alerted Bridgeport police, whose detectives then interviewed Vanderberg.

bridgeport murder arrestsVanderberg said that he and another New Haven man, 18-year-old Treizy Lopez, entered Sapiao’s Grocery on Lexington Avenue and that it was Lopez who pulled the trigger, fatally shooting Salgado in the neck. Vanderberg claimed he was running out of the store before Lopez shot Salgado.

Following her husband’s funeral Thursday, Maria Salgado, the wife of Jose Salgado, viewed video of Thursday’s arraignment and told Fox CT that Vanderberg was definitely the one who killed her husband. Mrs. Salgado said the suspects came in and asked for money, but when her husband tried to hand it to them, he was shot. She says the suspects ran out without taking any money.

Vanderberg told cops that after Lopez shot Salgado, they both ran to get into a car that was waiting for them down the street.

That car, a light colored, 2010 Ford Focus, was seen driving around Sapiao’s grocery about an hour before the shooting.

Police received assistance from the Ford Motor Company and Park City Ford of Bridgeport in tracking down the owner.

bridgeport new haven carThe vehicle, which New Haven police say is very similar to one spotted on surveillance video shortly before and after the murder of a convenience store clerk on April 6 at a Citgo station on Forbes Avenue in New Haven, is registered to a person that lives on Davenport Avenue in New Haven.

Both Bridgeport and New Haven police continue to collaborate to see if there is a connection between these homicides, especially since Vandenberg has admitted being involved in homicides in both cities.

In addition to the homicide that occurred at the New Haven Citgo station, police are investigating to see if either of the suspects in the Bridgeport homicide are connected to another shooting in New Haven that happened over last weekend.

New Haven police were dispatched on Saturday night to Smokin’ Wings, located at 560 Congress Ave., on reports of a robbery attempt and the shooting of an employee in the stomach.

The suspects in this shooting were described as being two white males and an African-American male.

New Haven police say the Ford Focus they have impounded is registered to a person that lives less than a quarter of a mile from Smokin’ Wings.

Sanjay Patel, 35, the New Haven Citgo station clerk murdered last week, was also buried today. Vandenberg is due back in court May 5.