Connecticut man tests new gun by firing into a park full of children: Police

A Connecticut man was arrested last week after allegedly firing multiple shots into a park full of children, according to WCBS-TV

James Denardo, 68, was found by police in his Cadillac with two guns — a loaded two-shot Derringer and a 9 mm Beretta — at a busy park in Stamford, Conn., last Wednesday evening following reports of gunfire.

Police say they also found around 20 unopened mini bottles of vodka in the car, as well as some that were already empty. When they asked Denardo what he was doing with the guns, he said he "wanted to see how they worked," according to Stamford Police Capt. Richard Conklin

Denardo, whom one neighbor described as nonviolent and "even-tempered," struggled with police at the scene. The scuffle resulted in an injury above his eye, which can be seen in his mug shot. No one in the park was injured by the gunfire. 

Scalzi Park, where Denardo was shooting his weapons, was full of children playing a game of softball, as well as two youth football practices. 

"There were baseball games and kids playing — I'm really shocked," one unnamed witness told WCBS. "And I'm concered."

Police later confirmed that Denardo, who currently works as a security guard, had bought the guns the same day as his arrest. The 68-year-old is an Army veteran and has owned guns in the past, according to the Stamford Advocate

Multiple neighbors told reporters the incident was out of character for Denardo. 

"I think he’s a wonderful person from my interactions with him," an unnamed neighbor told WCBS. "From what I’ve heard about what happened, my guess is he just did something stupid but no ill intent."

Police searched Denardo's home after his arrest but found no other firearms. Denardo was taken to a hospital for a psychological evaluation, which he cleared.

He was then sent to prison Thursday and charged with 50 counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and 22 counts of risk of injury to a minor. His bail was set at $75,000 — which he could not meet — and he is now awaiting trial. 

"This was really serious," Police Capt. Diedrich Hohn told the Stamford Advocate. "The guy is lucky he didn’t kill anyone and didn't get killed himself. He put a lot of people in danger, because what he did was a very reckless act."

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