NORWALK, Conn. Gunfire disrupted downtown SoNo on Saturday evening, sending pedestrians fleeing during a busy time for businesses and drawing many Norwalk police officers to the area in a hurry, Sgt. James Belmont said. Police detained two teenagers they believe were involved in the crimes and found a gun, but no one was arrested. No one was injured.
Officer Richard Montanez reported the shots were fired at 8:51 p.m. He heard them from North Main and Washington streets while patrolling the area. He saw three people running, one with a handgun in his hand, according to Belmont. Two ran one way and one went the other way. Belmont suspects that the teenager who ran alone was likely the intended target of the shots.
The other two ran down North Main and then doubled back to run down the alley into the Webster Street parking lot.
Belmont was the first officer to arrive in that lot. "When I pulled up, someone waved me down and said, 'I just saw two guys,'" Belmont said. "One ran through here, threw gun. Probably 20 seconds later, one officer scooped up suspect."
That suspect was hiding behind a dumpster in the lot, behind the bank on the corner. The other suspect ran back through the alley, Belmont said.
"It happened pretty quick," he said. "Montanez conveyed the message over the radio, the area was just saturated. Cops were coming from all directions. These guys most likely saw the cops coming in the parking lot, spooked and ran, split up, one of them tossed the gun."
Police found a .22-caliber long-barrel revolver, a replica of Western gun, Belmont said. The suspects were 16-year-old Norwalk kids. "If there was enough probable cause police would have arrested them," Belmont said.
At that time Saturday evening, businesses were doing well. "We had a lot of pedestrian traffic, people walking around the streets and on the sidewalks, in the restaurants, bars," Belmont said.
He believes the fast police response indicates that things are better than they were early in his career. "It goes to show you that things are getting better," said Belmont, who became an officer in 1979. "Years ago, as detectives, we might not have even responded to that. As detectives, we were busier then. Shootings and shots fired were more common."
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