Protestors incite panic, put Westport Temple into lockdown
WESTPORT – Police arrested two New Haven men Tuesday afternoon after responding to a complaint from Temple Israel about unwanted people protesting at their property.
Shortly after that initial dispatch to responding units, the communications center started to receive additional calls reporting that a person had a gun so Coleytown Middle School, Coleytown Elementary School, the preschool at the Unitarian Church and the Temple Israel nursery were put into lockdown until officers were able to clear the buildings.
No gun was located during the incident but a witness had observed one of the men approaching with a shirt over his arm and hand which led some witnesses to believe he was carrying a gun.
The first two arriving officers were able to take custody of the two men on the second floor meeting room where staff had physically detained them.
Daniel Fisher, 25, of Osborn Avenue in New Haven and Gregory Williams, 25, of Whitney Avenue in New Haven were both charged with first-degree criminal trespass and second-degree breach of peace.
The temple was hosting a talk with members of the Israeli Defense Force, or IDF, and the two men, who claimed to be college students, were at the temple to protest the IDF.
They entered the building and were confronted by staff and told to leave but the men refused and tried get past the staff members and enter the meeting place.
Staff members had to physically prevent the men from entering the meeting room. As the two were detained outside the meeting room it was reported that they were shouting various statements regarding the IDF.
The actions of the two protestors created enough concern to the attendees that several people had exited the premises in fear for their safety.
A vehicle which witnesses reported as dropping the men off has been located and that person has been identified but he will not be charged with any criminal charges.
Both were placed on $1,500 bail and are due in Norwalk Court on Thursday, May 21.
Westport police were assisted by the Weston Police Department during the incident.