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Hamden police ask state not to renew pizza parlor liquor permit

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HAMDEN — Police and local leaders in Hamden are asking the Connecticut Liquor Commission not to renew the liquor permit of a pizza parlor because of what they describe as violence outside the restaurant.

Hamden Police Chief Thomas Wydra identified a total of five shooting incidents to which police responded at Slyce Pizza Bar, located on 141 Arch Street.

Wydra and Democratic Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng joined members of CONECT — Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut — in calling on the restaurant to stop serving alcohol.

The organization collected over 200 signatures from Hamden residents on a Remonstrance Petition to the Liquor Commission in order to force a hearing on the establishment’s liquor privileges. One sponsor, Odell Cooper, lost her son to a homicide by the establishment.

Police say Odell’s son, Jonathan, was murdered in April while sitting at a stop light at the corner of Arch Street and Dixwell Avenue. He had never been to Slyce, but was shot and killed in a case of mistaken identity by someone who investigators say was in a fight at the pizza parlor.

Police also noted several other incidents in front of Slyce over the course of several months. In January, a suspect armed with a handgun opened fire into a large crowd of patrons standing in the parking lot. No injuries were reported due to the incident and an accused party was never identified.

On June 9th, two men were arrested after an investigation into a May incident that occurred in front of Slyce Pizza Bar.  Daryl Belton, 44, and Roger Sullivan, 39, faced a number of charges after a physical altercation involving an ex-girlfriend led to an assault with a firearm.

Neighbors have also complained to Hamden police about the quality of life problems in the community, such as loud noise late at night and parking problems. They also say their streets are regularly littered with trash and beer bottles that come from the restaurant.

The restaurant’s owners say they are being unfairly blamed for the town’s problems. They accuse Hamden officials of spinning the story against them instead of working to resolve inherently poor environmental factors that cause escalated crime rates in the surrounding neighborhoods.

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