James Denardo, 68, allegedly fired two shots near Scalzi Park in Stamford around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to investigators. When police arrived, they reportedly found Denardo sitting inside his Cadillac with two guns he had just bought.
Denardo was showing "extreme restraint" when officers asked him to keep his hands visible, Stamford Police Capt. Diedrich Hohn told the Stamford Advocate. Upon a second command to raise his hands, he complied. It was then that responding officers spotted a loaded two-shot Derringer sitting in his lap.
The 68-year-old — who is said to work as a security guard — told police he "wanted to see how [the weapons] worked," Captain Richard Conklin told WCBS-TV. He also reportedly had in his possession a 9mm Beretta, and police found a few empty mini bottles of vodka in his vehicle.
“People that were playing baseball out on the park actually saw the bullets hit out in the field,” one witness said. “We’re extremely lucky no one was hurt.”
A neighbor told the news station that Denardo, who allegedly denied shooting bullets into the park, is "a wonderful person from my interactions with him, and from what I’ve heard about what happened my guess is he just did something stupid but no ill intent."
Investigators seized Denardo's firearms and ammo and his pistol permit. His permit was sent to Connecticut State Police for a review, Conklin said, adding his license will most likely be revoked.
Denardo was transported to a hospital and cleared after a psychological evaluation. He was charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, interfering with police, 50 counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and 22 counts of risk of injury to a minor, according to reports.
He was unable to post bond at an arraignment hearing Thursday and online records indicate as of Monday morning was being held at the Bridgeport Correctional Center.