Vernon police focus hunt for shooting suspect in Massachusetts

Dom Amore, Hartford Courant

Police are analyzing evidence seized as the search continues for a suspect who fired shots into an apartment building in Vernon early Friday.

The suspect, who fled on foot after scrambling from his stopped getaway car, may have reached Massachusetts. Vernon, Somers and state police were searching in Somers, where the suspect’s car was halted. They believe the suspect is a male.

“Police are working to obtain a reliable description of this male, but do not believe the shooter is in the Somers area and have no reason to believe he has any ties to Somers,” the Vernon police Lt. William Meier said Sunday. “Vernon police are working with Massachusetts authorities in their attempts to identify and apprehend the shooter.”

The shots were fired shortly before 12:45 a.m. Friday, police say, following a disturbance outside the Park West Apartments on Park West Drive in Vernon. There was a person inside the apartment, but the occupant was not struck. The person who fired took off in a red Jeep Cherokee with Massachusetts license plates and turned left onto Route 83. A Vernon officer tried to pull it over, but the driver continued until the vehicle was stopped by a stop stick thrown into the road, puncturing at least one tire, at the intersection of routes 83 and 190 in the center of Somers.

As police searched Friday, schools in Somers were switched to remote learning for the day, but the suspect was not found. However, police continue to request Somers residents check home surveillance cameras between 12:50 a.m. and 5 a.m. Friday and look for any suspicious individuals.

Evidence from the scene is being analyzed by the Connecticut State Police Forensics Lab, according to Vernon police.

Residents with footage are asked to contact Det. Charles Hicking at 860-872-9126 or chicking@vernon-ct.gov.

Anyone with information about the dispute and gunfire is asked to call Vernon police at 860-872-9126. Callers may remain anonymous.

Police did make an arrest in connection with the incident. Trevaughn Velez, 23, of Springfield, was charged with third-degree assault, possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, breach of peace, criminal mischief and risk of injury to a child, Meier said. He was held in lieu of $250,000 bond and arraigned Friday in Superior Court in Rockville.

Dom Amore can be reached at damore@courant.com