Pair charged in 2016 double homicide at Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford

Pair charged in 2016 double homicide at Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford

WALLINGFORD — The double homicide at Oakdale Theatre in December 2016 stemmed from a dispute between two groups of men inside the concert hall, according to police. 

Tivon Edwards, 33, of 154 Sheffield St., New Haven was charged Monday with two counts of first-degree manslaughter with a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit. Kyle Hampton, 23, of 20 Half Mile Road, North Haven, who was taken into custody Friday, faces the same charges. 

Two New Haven men, Travis Ward, 31, and Jacquan Graves, 20, were killed in the shooting outside the South Turnpike Road  concert venue on Dec. 30, 2016 following a performance by rap artist Meek Mill. Two others suffered injuries, but survived.

The shooting stemmed from a dispute between two groups inside the concert, according to police spokeswoman Lt. Cheryl Bradley. Edwards and Hampton were in one group and Ward and Graves were in another group.

Police Chief William Wright said the investigation is ongoing. It was not immediately clear if additional arrests are forthcoming.

He said New Haven police, state police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted with the investigation.

"It really, really was a tremendous job," he said. "...It's been a long 18 months and I know it's been exhausting for them. Truly, I could not be prouder of all of them. It's hard, difficult work." 

Wright hopes the arrests will bring "some sense of comfort" for the families of the victims.

"At the end of the day, regardless of the charges and what the facts and circumstances of the incident were, two families are without loved ones," Wright said. "…I'm hopeful that the arrests bring (the families) some sense of comfort, but then again I don't know if it will or it won't."

Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said he was “pleased” with the police department’s investigation.

“It certainly speaks highly of the professionalism of our police department and the patience with which police work must be performed and executed,” he said. “It takes time and steadiness, but there are good results."

Nearby residents of the Oakdale said the arrests are welcomed news. 

“I think it’s great,” said David Phipps, a resident of Beryl Lane, located behind the theater. 

Another resident, Brian Anderson, said he was relieved by the arrests, which Anderson didn't expect to come. 

“I thought too much time went by,” he said. 

Edwards was arraigned in Meriden Superior Court on Monday. His bond was set at $1 million. According to statements in court, he is serving a 30 month sentence for a conviction for criminal possession of a firearm. That incident took place on Jan. 2, 2017, three days after the shooting at the Oakdale.

Edward is due to appear in New Haven Superior Court on July 24.
Hampton was arraigned in Meriden Superior Court on Friday. According to statements in court, Hampton has six pending cases for charges including theft of a firearm and pistol without a permit, and has convictions for a weapons offense and a federal conviction for violation of conditions of release.

Bond was set at $1 million and Hampton’s case was transferred to New Haven Superior Court, where he is scheduled to appear on July 31. 

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