Five people were shot overnight at a private themed party above a tattoo parlor in New Haven and one of them is in critical condition as police look for the shooter.
Chapel Street is closed while police investigate the shots that rang out as a party was winding down in a private space above Evolution Tattoo Parlor at 849 Chapel Street between Church and Orange streets. Police responded to reports of a shooting on the second floor at about 2 a.m. When police arrived, a crowd of people were in the street running from the shooting site.
Three gunshot victims found on scene were transported by ambulance to Yale-New Haven Hospital and two others were taken to the hospital in a private car. Jamie Rodriguez, 21, was shot in the lower back, knee, groin and thigh and is in critical condition. Joshua Agosto, 25, was shot in the chest and buttocks, Gerald Pugh, 28, was shot twice in his leg and also in his right buttocks and thigh and Jovanni Leon Vargas, 23, was shot twice in one arm, once in the other and a bullet grazed his abdomen. A gunshot grazed 30-year-old Hector Martinez's upper back. All but Rodriguez have non-life-threatening injuries and are either in stable condition or nearly ready for release from the hospital, police said.
Two groups were seen arguing earlier in the party and again toward the end and private security guards separated them twice before the shooting, police said the initial reports indicate. Security brought the smaller group outside and kept the larger one inside, so the dispute wouldn't "spill out into the street," police said.
But moments later, witnesses told police that a man re-entered the second floor space and opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun, emptying the weapon of all its bullets. That's when the five victims were believed to be shot and the shooting was contained to the second floor of the building, police said.
The shooter may have fled in a silver Invinity SUV that took off at a high speed in the eastbound direction on Chapel Street, police said.
It was a themed "white party," where the guests were wearing white clothes. Witnesses told police the shooter was a man with an average build, dark hair and a clean-shaven face. He may have been wearing a white V-neck T-shirt.
Police interviewed dozens of people and are still questioning more people to figure out what triggered the dispute and shooting. No suspect has been identified at this time and police are asking for the public's help to provide any information on the shooting.
Major crimes and investigation bureau detectives are speaking to people on scene with information and are combing the crime scene for evidence.
Police ask anyone who witnessed the shooting or who has information to call detectives at 203-946-6304. Tips can be phoned in anonymously.