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Norwalk Leader Arrested After Gun Goes Off

A well-known Norwalk civil rights leader tried to help his neighbor late Friday night but wound up being arrested after his pistol went off, injuring the neighbor, police reported.

Bobby Burgess , former executive director of Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now, Inc. , told authorities he was being choked during a tussle on the ground with the neighbor's boyfriend, Jerry Zwirko, and tried to hand the gun to the woman. Police said the .44 caliber revolver went off while it was still in his hand.

Zwirko got the gun and Burgess ran out of the house, located at 38 Brooklawn Road, according to the police account. Burgess thought no one was injured, but Norwalk Police noticed that the woman, 64, was bleeding from her left leg. She was taken to Norwalk Hospital.

The incident began when the woman caught Zwirko, 51, flirting by email with another woman, according to the police account. An argument ensued. Zwirko allegedly hit her in the arm and she walked next door to ask Burgess, 73, for help. Burgess followed her back to her house.

Burgess was wearing a holster with his revolver in it, as he had worn it to the bank earlier in the day. He has a permit for the gun.

Burgess tried to calm Zwirko down, but it became an argument. Burgess tried to phone police, but Zwirko allegedly pushed the cell phone out of his hand, pushed him to the ground and began choking him. He realized he had the gun on him and tried to move it to safety.

Police were called at 10:25 p.m. They found the gun in the master bedroom of the woman's house. They say they found Zwirko hiding in a closet. There was a deep gouge in the hardwood floor and damage to a wall. Police found a .44 caliber projectile at the base of the stairs.

Burgess was charged with reckless endangerment. His court date is March 4, and there was no bond set. Zwirko was charged with disorderly conduct and assault. Bond was $5,000 and his court date is Monday.

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