A man, 68, has been taken into custody after Connecticut police say he tested out his new gun in a public park where kids were playing a game of softball.
According to detectives Sixty-eight-yeard-old James Denardo was said to have fired two shots around 6:30 p.m near Scalzi Park in Stamford on Wednesday. When the police arrived, they reportedly found Denardo sitting inside his Cadillac with the two guns he had just purchased.
Stamford Police Capt. Diedrich Hohn said Denardo was displaying “extreme restraint” when officers requested him to keep his hands visible. Upon a second command to lift his hands, he complied. It was then that the responding officers detected a loaded two-shot Derringer sitting in his lap.
Captain Richard Conklin said the 68-year-old, who is said to serve as a security guard, informed authorities he “wanted to see how the weapons worked.” He also reportedly had in his car a 9mm Beretta, and police found various empty mini bottles of vodka in his vehicle. While he supposedly opened fire in a dead-end street of the neighborhood into the park, there was a softball game going on along with football practices. The firing was happening nearby where the kids were running around, authorities said.
People that were playing baseball out in the parks saw the bullets hit out in the field.” One witness said, “We’re fortunate no one was hurt.” A neighbor informed the news station that Denardo, who supposedly initially denied shooting bullets into the park, is “a wonderful person from my interactions with him. From what I’ve heard about what happened, my guess is he just did something stupid but no ill intent.”
Detectives took Denardo’s firearms and ammo and his pistol permit. Conklin said his permit was sent directly to Connecticut State Police for a review, adding his license will most likely be taken from him. Denardo was brought to a hospital and discharged after a psychological evaluation. According to records he was charged with illegal discharge of a firearm, 50 counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, 22 counts of risk of injury to a minor, and interfering with police. Thursday he was incapable of posting the bond at a scheduled hearing, and online records show as of Monday morning was being kept at the Bridgeport Correctional Center.