Police say they arrested a Connecticut man after he tested out his new gun in a public park where children were playing a softball game.
Police say James Denardo, 68, fired two shots near Scalzi Park in Stamford around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
When police arrived, they said they found Denardo sitting inside his Cadillac with two guns he had just bought.
When officers asked him to keep his hands visible Denardo was showed “extreme restraint.” Stamford Police Capt. Diedrich Hohn told the Stamford Advocate. Upon a second command to raise his hands, he complied. It was then that responding officers spotted a loaded two-shot Derringer sitting in his lap.
James Denardo— who works as a security guard — told police he “wanted to see how [the weapons] worked,” Captain Richard Conklin told WCBS-TV. He also had in his possession a 9mm Beretta, and police found a few empty mini bottles of vodka in his vehicle.
Authorities said while Denardo opened fire in a dead-end street of the neighborhood into the park, there were football practices and a softball game happening nearby with kids running around.
“People that were playing baseball out on the park actually saw the bullets hit out in the field,” one witness said. “We’re extremely lucky no one was hurt.”
A neighbor told the WCBS-TV that Denardo, who has denied shooting bullets into the park, is “a wonderful person from my interactions with him, and from what I’ve heard about what happened my guess is he just did something stupid but no ill intent.”
Investigators seized Denardo’s firearms and ammo and his pistol permit. His permit was sent to Connecticut State Police for a review, Conklin said, adding his license will most likely be revoked.
Denardo was transported to a hospital and cleared after a psychological evaluation. He was charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, interfering with police, 50 counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and 22 counts of risk of injury to a minor, according to reports.
He was unable to post bond at an arraignment hearing on Thursday and online records indicate as of Monday morning was being held at the Bridgeport Correctional Center.
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