A 13- and 14-year-old from New Haven are facing charges after violently robbing and beating three adults in Hamden along with a group of peers, according to police.
Six other young teenagers possibly involved are at large and police are looking for them with concerns that they'll strike again. They are calling it a crime spree and said there might be other victims.
According to police, about half a dozen teens tried to break into a home on Goodrich Street around 1 a.m. Friday. The group then targeted middle-aged adults walking in the area.
"It appears to be a group of very young actors engaged in very violent behavior," explained Hamden police chief Thomas Wydra. "It didn't matter who was going to be the victim. They were going up and down the street, looking for whoever to accost."
A 54-year-old Hamden resident told police he was walking on Newhall Street when an “angry group” of teens demanded his money and personal belongings. The teens attacked the man and pistol whipped him, then ran off, according to police.
While investigators were talking interviewing the first victim, a 59-year-old man came forward and told them he, too, had been assaulted.
The second victim said he was also walking on Newhall Street when about eight people started chasing him. He ran to a nearby home for help when one member of the group pointed a gun at him, then pistol whipped him. The teens then started beating him with shovels, sticks and other yard tools, police said.
A third victim, age 43, was found “stumbling down Dixwell Avenue near Hamden Street” and taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment. The man told police five people attacked him while he was walking westbound on Goodrich Street. He was pistol whipped, knocked to the ground, then punched and kicked repeatedly, according to police.
Police said the group stole $7 and cigarettes from the third victim.
Community members are alarmed and are calling for action.
"My concern is that we need to find a way to rally the community and find a way to have more policing on the street at one in the morning," said Deacon Clinton Robinson, of New Haven. "We have to find out how we can convey to the parents that kids need to be at home at one in the morning, not running the streets."
Robert Hemmingway, who lives in the area where the attacks have occurred, said that this kind of activity is more common than people realize.
“This is an unfortunate thing to say, but this may be news to others in other communities but it’s kind of frequent here,” Hemmingway said.
Although horrible, he’s says he’s not surprised, “I’m kind of used to it because it tends to pop up every year and it’s been going on for a while.”
Two teens have been charged with second-degree assault and conspiracy to commit second-degree assault. Police are still looking for the other suspects.
Neighbors only hope the extra police patrolling the area will help stop the attacks soon.
“We need to have the community, the adults in the community to get more involved and not assume that your children are out there doing what they’re supposed to be doing. A lot of times these kids get caught up with these gangs the parents don’t even know they’re involved with them,” Hemingway said.
Anyone with information is urged to call Hamden police at 203-230-4000.