Authorities are searching for answers after a 27-year-old Middletown man rammed a car into the Middlesex Hospital emergency room, then set himself on fire, while those who know him struggle to understand what happened.
Yellow tape continued to block off the area of the hospital where the crash happened Thursday night.
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew told NBC Connecticut that the suspect, Steven Ellam, recorded the entire incident on Facebook live. Facebook has since removed the original post but the video is spreading across social media.
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NBC Connecticut has seen the video. In it, Ellam referred to the Illuminati and President Trump and called himself Jesus Christ.
Those who know Ellam are shocked by what happened.
“I found out who it was and that was absolutely devastating,” Portland resident Jennifer Shafer said.
Shafer said Ellam came across as a kind, passionate aspiring musician when she met him.
“Nothing unusual or that he was just a young artist who wanted to get his music out there and was very polite and nice actually,” Shafer said.
Ellam was a guest on Shafer’s radio show “Voice of the City” on WESU last year.
She said every interaction with Ellam was positive. When she heard about the incident at Middlesex Hospital, it never occurred to her that Ellam could be the person responsible.
“I just thought, 'Wow what a tragedy. What happened?'” she said.
The owner of the local pizza shop where Ellam worked told NBC Connecticut that Ellam worked there for nine months and he was a good employee who worked hard but quit Wednesday with no explanation.
At a local coffee shop, the manager, Mike LaVoie, referred to Ellam as a regular.
“He'd come in several times a week, just get a coffee, usually a quiet person, in and out real quick,” LaVoie said.
As investigators continue to dive into Ellam’s past and his possible motivation, those who knew him are left wondering why.
“I just think it's really heartbreaking. My heart goes out to his family and to him and I hope he makes it,” Shafer said.
Authorities said Ellam has an extensive criminal history dating back to when he was a teenager and that there is no known connection between him and the hospital.
The hospital’s emergency department will remain closed until further notice.
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