The Associated Press
HARTFORD, CT – A 23-year-old convicted felon accused of firing one shot at a Hartford police officer outside a home on Madison Street early Sunday morning confessed immediately after he was caught, police reports show.
Police say Frankie Vega told them: “If I could shoot straight, right now one of you [expletive] would be dead and I’d be happy.”
Details of Vega’s confession were contained in a Hartford police arrest report that was released Monday after his arraignment in Superior Court in Hartford.
Judge Carl Taylor said he found probable cause to proceed with charges of criminal attempt to commit murder, criminal possession of a firearm, theft of a firearm, carrying a pistol without a permit, unlawful discharge of a firearm, reckless endangerment in the first-degree and interfering with police. Taylor increased Vega’s $500,000 bail to $1 million.
Police say Vega, of Benton Street in Hartford, was on the porch at 57-59 Madison St. about 5:20 a.m. Sunday with several other men when officers arrived to answer reports that shots were being fired from that address. While the others on the porch went inside the building, Vega pulled a black semi-automatic handgun from his waistband, Officer Christopher Heimerdinger said in his report.
Vega ran toward the side of the house as Heimerdinger ran behind him and radioed for help. “Drop the gun, police, stop,” the officer said he yelled.
Heimerdinger said he followed Vega, but then slowed down because he did not have any cover for safety. He said Vega reappeared and pointed the gun at him. Vega fired once, Heimerdinger said, and missed.
About that time, Officer Alexis Oquendo joined Heimerdinger in the chase. They saw Vega trying to fire a second time, and they ordered him again to drop the weapon. The officers said they saw Vega threw the handgun behind a tree in the yard of 57-59 Madison St. before he took off running and jumping over backyard fences. He was caught by Oquendo and Heimerdinger at the rear of 46 Lincoln St., police said.
After he was placed in a police car, Vega said he was a member of the Latin Kings street gang and that he had recently been released from jail, according to the police report. He said if he wasn’t so intoxicated, “he would have killed the cop,” the report said.
Police say Vega also admitted possessing the stolen handgun, which he purchased a month ago for “protection from enemies in the street and from the police,” the report said. The gun was reported stolen in September 2005.
Vega, court officials said, was convicted in May 2005 on a narcotics charged and released in 2007 after serving two years. He is currently on probation.
Assistant State’s Attorney John O’Reilly suggested that Vega be placed on a suicide watch. “Looks like a suicide-by-cop situation. He fired on police with a weapon he did not know how to use,” O’Reilly said.
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Vega’s case was continued until May 28 in Superior Court in Hartford.