SOUTHINGTON — A Meriden man remained hospitalized Monday after being shot early Sunday morning in a municipal parking lot off Center Street, while a New Britain man charged with attempted murder in the case appeared in Bristol Superior Court.
Jesus Morales, 31, of 154 Long Swamp Road, New Britain, was arrested Sunday and charged with criminal attempt to commit murder, first-degree assault and unlawful discharge of a firearm. Judge Hunchu Kwak set bond at $500,000 Monday and transferred the case to New Britain Superior Court for April 9.
According to the police report, officers found Colin Bossidy, 23, of Meriden, on the ground in a parking lot across from Machiavelli’s restaurant on Center Street at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. An off-duty paramedic was helping Bossidy, who had suffered a single gunshot wound to the left side of his body, between his hip and armpit. Bossidy was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury.
A witness identified Morales as the shooter after seeing photos of customers at Machiavelli’s earlier that night, the report said. Southington police went to Morales’ New Britain home and, with the assistance of local officers, stopped Morales as he was driving near his house. Morales was taken into custody and police went to his home to search for evidence. Police found a .38-caliber Ruger in a bedroom safe.
Morales has a valid pistol permit and the gun was registered to him, the report said.
Officers spoke with the two doormen at Machiavelli’s, who said there was a fight in the bar between two groups of people, the report said. After the group was outside, a doorman heard a single gunshot.
Officers went to St. Mary’s Hospital at about 4 a.m. and spoke with the Bossidy’s father, Kevin Bossidy. He told officers that his son was in surgery and he did not know what happened. At about 7 a.m., Kevin Bossidy called police and said Colin Bossidy was in the intensive care unit with damage to five internal organs including his stomach, a lung and liver. When Colin Bossidy woke up from surgery, nurses had to sedate him because he was complaining of pain and becoming agitated. Jennifer Clement, a spokeswoman for St. Mary’s, said Bossidy was in fair condition Monday afternoon.
Morales said in court he had no intention of shooting anyone. He was crouched on the ground when he fired the gun into the air. Morales told police he was in the bar when Colin Bossidy started snapping his fingers in Morales’ face, prompting a fight in the bar. After everyone was kicked out, Morales said he was assaulted and forced to crouch by the group Colin Bossidy was with. Morales said he pulled his gun from his waistband and fired one shot “to get them away from us,” the report said. Morales then got into his friend’s car and left.
“I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I was only trying to protect myself. I didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt,” Morales told police.
According to statements in court, Morales has no criminal history and has worked for the state Department of Transportation for over two years as a maintainer. Attorney Michael Chambers, who represented Morales for the bond hearing, said that for most of the incident Morales was in a defensive position and had no intent to cause harm. Chambers said Morales was reckless but had cooperated with police.
Family members in court for Morales declined to comment outside of court Monday. No one answered the door at Bossidy’s home on Monday afternoon.
The fight that led to the shooting isn’t the first at Machiavelli’s. In October 2012, the town fire marshal cited the restaurant for fire and electrical code violations following a raid. The raid also uncovered several liquor violations. Police said at the time that Machiavelli’s attracts large crowds at the end of the night that sometimes become “violent and confrontational.” During one incident outside the club, Southington police had to call for assistance from Berlin and Plainville police to cover the north and south ends of town while local officers handled a melee outside the restaurant.
Machiavelli’s owner, Spendi Bomova, responded by installing cameras and hiring more security. Police also increased patrols.
In January 2013, Bomova was arrested and charged with first-degree reckless endangerment after the October raid also found that the restaurant was overcrowded and the rear exit door was padlocked shut, meaning people could not get out of the building in an emergency.
Bomova said at the time the door was locked accidentally. When contacted Monday, Bomova declined comment on Sunday’s shooting.
Machiavelli’s attracts a younger crowd after 10 p.m. While many patrons are local residents, it also draws customers from New Britain, Meriden, Waterbury and New York.
The Center Street area has enjoyed a revitalization in the past decade sparked by a sizable town investment and followed by private entrepreneurs. There are six bars and restaurants in the immediate area.
“It’s not very good for the downtown area,” Al Ricciardone said of the shooting. Ricciardone is the owner of Friends Cafe on Liberty Street, about a block away. “We have some of the best bands in the area so we draw a lot of people from other areas. This being in the news — I don’t think it’s a good promotion.”
Ricciardone saw blue police cruiser lights as he was leaving Sunday morning. He said the Friends crowd is older, and he doesn’t have the same problems.
“Fortunately, I don’t see it in this area,’ he said. “We’re a little further away.”
State Rep. David Zoni, D-Southington, visits Machavelli’s and other bars and restaurants along Center Street as do other local residents. He described the shooting as something that happens when you mix alcohol with testosterone.
“Sometimes when you add a weapon it takes it to another level,” Zoni said.
Along with increased security and cameras, Zoni recalled Bomova’s taking pictures of the licenses of every patron.
Zoni said local police should patrol the area more frequently given some of the recent problems with fights and vandalism.
“They can’t be everywhere, but with the combination of so many permittees, it would be prudent to step it up,” Zoni said.
Town Councilor Michael Riccio doesn’t see the shooting as an indicator of larger problems downtown.
“It was an isolated incident by someone who doesn’t live in Southington,” he said.