PD: Shots fired at end of Riverfest fireworks; Windsor man arrested

Michael Robinson of Windsor was arrested for firing a handgun just after the Riverfest fireworks, Saturday July 14, 2018. (Hartford Police Department)

HARTFORD – Police investigated two reports of gunshots at Hartford’s Riverfest on Saturday night. They found one report unfounded, and found the second to be a very real danger to thousands of people gathered for city’s annual fireworks celebration.

Numerous people reported hearing shots fired about 9:25 p.m. on the city’s Mortensen Riverfront Plaza. Police say officers converged on the disturbance, and confirmed the sound was firecrackers and not gunshots.

Police say that at 10:06 p.m., after the fireworks had ended and the crowd was dispersing, officers heard gunshots on the upper plaza level and ran toward the sound. They saw a man firing a handgun, then attempting to flee. As police closed in and ordered him to drop the weapon, he threw the gun over the bridge to the walkway below. Police took him into custody and quickly recovered the gun.

Police say they assessed the crowd and surrounding areas, and luckily found no one injured. They did find shots had damaged a window and building side on Constitution Plaza, as well as a concrete planter. They recovered 7 bullet cases from the area where the man was shooting.

The suspect, 19-year-old Michael Robinson of Windsor faces numerous charges including Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm, Reckless Endangerment, Carrying a Pistol without a Permit, and Criminal Attempt to Assault 1st degree. He’s being held on a half-a-million dollars bond.

Hartford Police Department Lt. Paul Cicero says they plan for Riverfest and any possible incidents, and 75 officers, in and out of uniform, are assigned to the event including detectives, traffic details, the bomb squad and marine division officers on the Connecticut River. He notes that if officers had been forced to return fire to defend themselves in the midst of a crowd, it would have created an even more dangerous situation.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin issued the following statement on Sunday:

“After last night’s fireworks, an individual from Windsor recklessly and dangerously fired a weapon near a crowded area. Thankfully no one was injured, and the Hartford Police Department responded immediately and detained the individual very, very quickly without incident. I was at the fireworks last night with my family and with thousands of other people, and I want to thank the outstanding Hartford police officers who responded so professionally, quickly, and effectively.”

Police say Robinson does not have a criminal history in Hartford. He will be arraigned in Hartford Superior Court on Monday morning.