MERIDEN — Catherine Beltran’s two daughters were asleep on the living room couch Friday night when six bullets pierced the walls and windows only a foot away.
“I was in bed with the 4-year-old when I heard shots,” Beltran said. “I asked ‘are these fireworks?’ I heard a whole bunch of them.”
Beltran, who lives at 521 Broad St. in an apartment above City Tavern, got out of bed to investigate and turned the light on in the hallway. She saw what looked like a bug on a white curtain. It turned out to be a bullet hole.
“Oh my God,” she yelled. “I woke up my kids and got them off the couch. I called my neighbor. I told her ‘my house just got shot up.’ ”
Beltran and her three children have lived above the busy City Tavern without any problems for more than three years prior to Friday’s incident, which also left three bullet holes in the windows of the first-floor bar. Some of the bullets that entered Beltran’s apartment also penetrated interior walls.
Beltran now keeps her children out of the living room and is frightened to be alone in her apartment. She is trying to secure temporary housing while police investigate the shooting and her landlord repairs the damage.
Beltran told police she couldn’t think of anyone who would want to harm her. Her children attend Israel Putnam, where she reached out to a social worker for help finding another place to live.
“I’m a single mom,” she said. “I work when I have work.”
Police responded to Beltran’s 911 call at about 11:40 p.m. Friday. They later responded to 38 Hillside Ave. at 3:35 a.m. Saturday after gunshots were fired at the address, which “seemed to have been exclusively targeted,” police said.
Police have said those and five other incidents of gun violence since January remain under investigation and it’s not clear if they are connected.
Several patrons and a bartender were inside City Tavern at the time of the shooting, but none of the occupants were injured. Still, the incident haunts Beltran.
Beltran would like to live somewhere else temporarily but learned her renter’s insurance won’t cover a hotel because the apartment is still habitable. Her landlord told her Monday that his insurance won’t pay relocation costs for the same reason. Staying with family isn’t an option, she said.
“I don’t feel safe here,” Beltran said, tears welling in her eyes.
According to city records, the property and the building next door are owned by Gordon Ives, who could not be reached for comment.
Detectives were inside the apartment again Wednesday. A spokesman for the police department could not be reached for comment.
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