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Hamden officer involved shooting still fresh in the minds of the community

HAMDEN – The officer involved shooting six months ago was still fresh in people’s minds in Hamden.

Some called the arrest simply the start of due process while the real change will come from the community.

“What am I going to do? Run and hide? All this stuff affects me too,” said Elijah Spann.

Spann remembers the scene across from his barbershop on April 16th like it was yesterday. He recalls seeing rallies demanding justice held at the corner of Dixwell and Argyle street in New Haven.

“They all gathered right over there, in fact, I still have it on my phone. They said what they were going to do but what happened to this point? Nothing really happened until today,” said Spann.

The New Haven State Attorney’s office and the Connecticut State Police charged 29-year-old Devin Eaton of the Hamden Police Department with two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of first-degree assault.

An investigation into the shooting determined that Eaton was not justified in shooting 13 rounds at a Red Honda Civic and it’s two occupants.

The driver Paul Witherspoon and passenger Stephanie Washington were wrongly reported to have been involved in an armed robbery attempt at a gas station just before the shooting.

Washington suffered a fractured pelvis and spine.

Yale police officer Terrance Pollock also responded to the scene. He fired three shots and was grazed by one of Eaton's bullets. He was not arrested.

“Let us take advantage of a tragedy moving forward that this will never and we will not have to be here again,” said Pastor Laurence of Christ Chapel New Testament Church.

The case will now head to the courtroom, but the battle in the court of public opinion continues.

“Disgusted,” said James Walker. I felt bad for the people that was in the car and the driver. There’s always two sides to every story.”

Walker’s surveillance cameras captured the shooting unfold.

“Justice is just beginning,” said Walker. “I just hope it'll be fair and quick.”

“We have to be held accountable,” said Spann. “They have to be held accountable just like you and I.”

An accountability Spann believes goes beyond the streets of New Haven.

“It’s people. That’s my belief. It’s the people. If you want to clean it up do the correct thing we’re going to have no problem,” said Spann.

Hamden Mayor Curt Lang announced an internal investigation into the department will begin.

Eaton is currently on unpaid leave. He was released on $100,000 bond and will appear in court on October 28th.

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