Bridgeport organizing gun buyback program in wake of recent violence

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BRIDGEPORT–A makeshift memorial erected in between two parking spaces stands as a reminder of what Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph Gaudett called the worst shooting he’s experienced in his 32 years with the department.

At 1 a.m. Thursday, Savonnie McNeil, 37, of Shelton, died after being shot in the head in a parking lot in the Trumbull Gardens public housing complex. Eight others were injured in the shooting spree, including a 59-year-old woman who was taking a bath when a bullet penetrated her apartment wall and struck her.

“We’ve got a proliferation of illegal weapons out on the street,” said Gaudett. “A lot of these people that are using weapons they are not buying legally.”

Mayor Bill Finch said, “When the gun show loophole allows 40 percent of all guns in United States to be bought and sold in the United States without any background checks whatsoever, criminals will get guns.”

Finch is now calling on businesses to help the Park City to crack down on illegal guns by financing his latest gun buyback program.

“We had a successful gun buyback two years ago, where we got 1,000 guns off the streets,” said Finch.

To receive cash, you must submit a functional weapon, which will be inspected by officers.

Payments will range from $100-$250. The city is using $25,000 as seed money for the program. But, they need businesses to donate the other $75,000, which businesses have embraced in the past. Businesses interested in participating in this gun buyback program are asked to reach out to the Mayor’s office at (203) 576-7201.

During the last gun buyback, there was an anonymous $10,000 donation from a city resident.

 

Meanwhile, Gaudett spoke about how federal and state money is what the city needs to fulfill the mayor’s promise of more surveillance cameras at Trumbull Gardens, following Thursdays shooting.

“The fact that we have this tragic incident, maybe we can use it for some leverage to actually get some more cameras up there,” said Gaudett.