The following vignettes describe the circumstances for killings not ruled self-defense by private individuals with permits to carry concealed handguns. The incidents below all occurred in Connecticut. The descriptions include the current, known status of any charges filed against the concealed carry killer as reported by news sources as well as noting instances where the perpetrator committed suicide.
The Violence Policy Center welcomes any new information regarding the status of any case (with verifiable source(s)). Use this link to contact the VPC: http://www.vpc.org/contact.htm.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Richard Dabate PENDING
Date: December 23, 2015
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On December 23, 2015, concealed handgun permit holder Richard Dabate, 40, allegedly shot and killed his wife, Connie Dabate after their two children had left for school. Dabate initially told detectives that he had returned to his home after leaving for work when he realized he forgot his laptop. He said when he arrived home, he heard a noise and went upstairs to investigate and was confronted by a masked intruder. Dabate then said he heard his wife return home and yelled for her to run, but the intruder shot her twice before tying Dabate to a chair and burning him with a torch. Dabate stated that he turned the torch on the intruder, causing him to flee, and then called 911. Police found no signs of an intruder on the Dabates’ property and records from Connie Dabate’s Fitbit contradicted her husband’s timeline. Dabate eventually told police he had been having an affair and had gotten another woman pregnant. Investigators found a Note in Connie’s iPhone titled “why I want a divorce.” Five days after his wife’s murder, Dabate attempted to make a claim on her life insurance policy. Dabate was charged with murder, tampering with evidence, and providing a false statement. At his April 28, 2017 hearing, Dabate pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife and is free on $1 million bond.
Source: “Fitbit murder case: Richard Dabate pleads not guilty in wife’s death,” NBC News, April 29, 2017; “Cops use murdered woman’s Fitbit to charge her husband, CNN, April 25, 2017; “State police: Richard Dabate charged with 2015 murder of his wife,” Fox61, April 14, 2017; State of Conn. Superior Court, Arrest Warrant Application, April 13, 2017.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Guillermo Rodriguez SUICIDE
Date: August 2, 2015
People Killed: 2 (including shooter)
Circumstances: On August 2, 2015, concealed handgun permit holder Guillermo Rodriguez, 43, shot and killed his girlfriend Ingrid Del Rio-Garcia with a 45 caliber handgun, 37, before using a 10mm handgun to kill himself. Officers investigated after family members reported having no contact with Del Rio-Garcia for about 24 hours. After entering the home shared by the couple, police found Rodriguez dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the head, and Del Rio-Garcia dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and arm. According to police, the couple had been together for at least 10 years and there was no reported history of domestic violence between the couple.
Source: “East Haven Police: Shooter Threatened Girlfriend Before Murder-Suicide,” The Hartford Courant, August 5, 2015; “Update: East Haven Police Provide Details of the Murder/Suicide on Foxon Boulevard,” patch.com, August 5, 2015
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: William Sapone SUICIDE
Date: April 14, 2015
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On April 14, 2015, concealed handgun permit holder William Sapone, 61, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. When Sapone failed to return as expected from a boating trip, his wife went to look for him. After she was unable to locate his car she alerted police. A search ensued, assisted by the U.S. Coast Guard. Police found Sapone’s rowing scull on Cockenoe Island. Officers searched the island on foot and discovered his body a short distance away. The state’s medical examiner ruled Sapone’s death a suicide caused by a gunshot to his head.
Source: “Autopsy: Fairfield boater died from self-inflicted gunshot,” Connecticut Post, April 15, 2015.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Angela Grasso-Cunha CONVICTED
Date: April 9, 2014
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On April 9, 2014, concealed handgun permit holder Angela Grasso-Cunha, 27, allegedly shot and killed Jose Mendez, 23. She had been dating Mendez for three weeks and said Mendez had threatened to kill her and her family. Grasso-Cunha told police that Mendez had accused her of flirting with his sister, cheating on him, and giving him an STD, and had threatened to kill her and her family if she didn’t give him $600. During a car ride in West Hartford, Connecticut, while Mendez was driving, Grasso-Cunha pulled out a Glock 9mm pistol from her handbag and fired a round into his head. After the shooting, the car crashed into a fence and Grasso-Cunha called 911. According to the judge in the case, a person claiming self-defense must have a reasonable expectation that deadly force is about to be used against them. According to police, Grasso-Cunha admitted that there was no immediate threat or danger posed to her, but she said when Mendez turned to look at the Wendy’s restaurant where he had decided to eat, she saw this as her only opportunity to stop him from following through on his threats. Grasso-Cunha was charged with first-degree manslaughter with a firearm.
UPDATE: On February 10, 2016, Angela Grasso-Cunha was found guilty of first degree manslaughter in the death of Jose Mendez. She was sentenced to 25 years with a minimum of five to be served.
Source: “Bail Bond Agent Charged With Manslaughter Sentenced to 25 Years,” nbconnecticut.com, April 13, 2016; “Guilty: Plainville woman convicted of manslaughter,” New Britain Herald, February 11, 2016; “Plainville woman charged with manslaughter,” The Bristol Press, April 11, 2014; “Woman Claims Self-Defense In Fatal West Hartford Shooting,” Hartford Courant, April 10, 2014.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Allana Carey CONVICTED
Date: January 2, 2012
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On January 2, 2012, concealed carry permit holder Allana Carey, 35, allegedly shot and killed her boyfriend Edward Landry, 44, at the Carrier Motor Lodge motel in Newington. Carey pleaded “not guilty” to a charge of murder and claimed that she shot Landry in self-defense when he threatened her with a knife.
UPDATE: On October 7, 2015, Alanna Carey was found guilty of murder in the death of Edward Landry. On January 6, 2016, Carey was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Source: “Alanna Carey gets 50 years in murder of ex-boyfriend at Newington motel,” Hartford Courant, January 6, 2016; “Alanna Carey found guilty in Newington motel murder,” Hartford Courant, October 7, 2015; “Woman pleads not guilty to Connecticut town motel shooting,” NorwichBulletin.com, March 20, 2012.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Omar Thornton SUICIDE
Date: August 3, 2010
People Killed: 9 (including shooter)
Circumstances: On August 3, 2010, concealed handgun permit holder Omar Thornton, 34, went on a shooting rampage at the beer distributorship where he worked, killing eight co-workers before taking his own life. The shooting began at a meeting where Thornton, a driver for the distributor, resigned after being shown video evidence of having stolen beer from the company. Then, according one witness in the meeting, “[H]e went out on this rampage. He was cool and calm. He didn’t yell. He was cold as ice. He didn’t protest when we were meeting with him to show him the video of him stealing….He just agreed to resign. And then he just unexplainably pulled out his gun and started blasting.” It was believed that Thornton had hidden the two handguns he used, including a Sturm, Ruger SR9 pistol, in his lunch box. According to his girlfriend’s mother, Thornton had planned to teach her daughter how to use a gun. Thornton had complained of racial harassment at the company but had not filed a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (the company denied the allegations). On his Facebook page Thornton listed Hoffman’s Gun Center & Indoor Range among his interests. According to documents obtained by the Violence Policy Center from the State of Connecticut, Thornton had a current Connecticut pistol permit that allowed him to carry concealed. The reason for the permit was “job.”
Source: “Man kills 8, self in Connecticut shooting rampage,” Associated Press, August 4, 2010; “Shooter: ‘Tell Everybody I Love Them and Goodbye,’” Associated Press/NBC Connecticut, August 4, 2010; Documents obtained by Violence Policy Center from State of Connecticut Department of Public Safety, September 24, 2010.