Meriden police investigating death at Community Towers

Meriden police investigating death at Community Towers

Record-Journal


MERIDEN — Police say the death of a man whose body was found in his Meriden Housing Authority apartment last week is being investigated as a homicide.

About 11:40 a.m. Thursday, police went to Community Towers, 55 Willow St., after family members found Felix Rodriguez dead on the fifth floor of the north tower, according to Sgt. Christopher Fry.

Police are investigating his death as a homicide, Fry said. No details were released by police. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Rodriguez suffered a stab wound to the neck. Though he was found Thursday, it’s unclear when Rodriguez was killed. Robert Cappelletti, executive director of the Meriden Housing Authority, said surveillance footage shows Rodriguez letting a man into his apartment building on Aug. 9, two days before he was found dead.

Fry described Rodriguez as a middle-aged man, but didn’t release his age. On Thursday, a GoFundMe account was established to support Rodriguez’s family.

The north tower is one of two 11-story apartment buildings known as Community Towers. The buildings, also referred to as Willow Towers, are owned by the Meriden Housing Authority. They contain 211 units for elderly and non-elderly disabled residents. Those living in the complex must be at least 62 years old or disabled, according to the housing authority’s website.

Cappelletti said the incident “was isolated.”

“Our cameras clearly showed he invited them there,” Cappelletti said, referring to surveillance footage from Aug. 9. “He let him in as an invited guest.”

Cappelletti said both towers have functioning cameras and residents are asked not to prop doors that would allow non-residents to get into the buildings.

Justo Matias, head of the Willow Towers Block Watch, said Tuesday he was shocked after hearing news of the killing.

“It’s a shocking thing you don’t hear about every day,” said Matias, who lives in the south tower.

Matias noticed several detectives and police vehicles at the complex Thursday. Rodriguez was a relatively new tenant, he said.

Raphael Solano, a resident of the north tower, heard about the investigation when he came home Friday.

“It was a surprise for a lot of people,” Solano said. “I’m concerned because some people don’t live here and wait until someone opens the door.”

Solano said he believes there should be more security as tenants of the complex are elderly or disabled.

The Record-Journal initially inquired into the incident Monday morning after receiving a tip from a resident, but police didn’t immediately release details. When questioned by a reporter Monday night, Mayor Kevin Scarpati and City Councilor Larue Graham, chairman of the council’s public safety committee, both said they were unaware of the investigation. On Tuesday, Scarpati said he was disappointed that he hadn’t been informed about the incident sooner.

“I felt as though there could have been better lines of communication,” Scarpati said. “I understand we are in a unique position now because of the number of incidents that have been happening around the city, and everyone is somewhat on edge. When I hear mention of what is being investigated as a homicide in the city in light of all we’ve been through in the last several months, I feel as through we should have been notified sooner.”

Scarpati said he understands protocols may be in place for releasing information, but he will meet with city officials to discuss how to keep the community informed. While this appears to be an isolated incident, he said, some residents feel the community isn’t safe. Scarpati added that his office and city officials will work to show residents that they are not in danger.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective John Wagner at 203-630-6334.

lsievert@record-journal.com 203-317-2225 Twitter: @LaurenSievertRJ


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