Conn. police: Crowd at illegal bonfire pelted FFs, officers with chunks of ice
Firefighters were reportedly targeted with ice and snowballs while trying to put out the fire
EAST HAVEN, Conn. — People in a raucous crowd at an illegal bonfire Monday pelted East Haven firefighters and police officers with ice chunks and other items, police said Tuesday.
No one was seriously hurt, but police had to call in help from other agencies and blast the crowd with pepper spray while arresting two men.
Officers were dispatched to 113 Bradford Ave. to help with a large crowd. Some people were throwing snow and ice balls at firefighters while they tried to douse the bonfire, police said.
As officers spoke with Glen Degray, 56, people began to throw snow and ice at the officers, police said. A large piece of ice hit a cruiser and Degray threatened to start a riot if police did not leave, police said.
With the crowd growing more hostile, additional units from surrounding agencies were requested. Branford, New Haven and state police responded.
As officers tried to control the crowd, a man later identified as Michael Ciarleglio, 33, approached from behind the officers, police said. Ignoring commands to get back, Ciarleglio pushed an officer out of the way in an attempt to lunge at another officer who had just arrived, police said.
As officers were taking Ciarleglio into custody, several in the crowd began hopping a fence to advance towards the officers while continuing to throw objects, police said. An East Haven officer was struck in the head with a heavy backpack filled with various items, but was not hurt, police said. Officers sprayed pepper spray to keep the crowd back, police said.
Degray, of East Haven, was arrested and charged with inciting a riot and breach of peace. Ciarleglio, of Wallingford, was arrested and charged with interfering with police and breach of peace. Both were later released on $2,500 bonds and were scheduled to appear in court on April 12.
(c)2021 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)