NEW BRITAIN - A Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty to his involvement in a shooting at a Bristol home in early 2018.
Gage Sherman, 21, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault involving the discharge of a firearm, during a hearing Monday in New Britain Superior Court.
According to court records, Sherman’s sentencing has been scheduled for May 10. The terms of the plea bargain, including the length of a possible prison term, were not immediately available.
Sherman, who is being held on $550,000 bond, and Juan Ocasio, 21, of Massachusetts, were arrested Jan. 26, 2018, after they were spotted in a vehicle driving on Pine Street minutes after a shooting at a home at 51 Pleasant View Ave., Bristol. According to court documents, three people, ages 25, 22 and 19, were in the home when five rounds were fired into the house at about 9:55 p.m. They were watching TV in the living room.
Police suspect the shooting may have stemmed from bitter feelings over a previous relationship, as Ocasio is the brother of a man who used to date one of the three people who were inside the Bristol home. According to the victim, her ex-boyfriend “has been so upset and angry about their split that he has threatened to harm himself on several occasions,” the arrest warrant in the case said.
No one was shot during the incident. Ocasio, who is being held on $399,000 bond, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle. His case is still pending.
According to court records, charges of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, illegal discharge of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit will not be pursued against Sherman in exchange for his plea. Police believe Sherman was the gunman during the incident.
Just before the shooting, the 25-year-old heard someone open the storm door and got up to see who was there. His girlfriend, 22, then raised the shade on a window in the front of the home to see who was at the door. The boyfriend heard the door knob move, as if someone was trying to enter the home, so he quickly locked the dead bolt. Seeing a man wearing a hood over his face, holding what looked like a gun, he yelled for his girlfriend to get down.
Seconds later, one bullet came through the window, where the 22-year-old had been standing, and three more bullets sprayed through the door. A fifth shot got lodged in the door jamb.
The couple, who live in the home, along with their house guest, then crawled to the rear of the house and called 911. Several neighbors heard the shots and a car speeding away, and also called authorities.
Minutes later, police pulled over a Hyundai Sonata on Pine Street, in Bristol, with Massachusetts license plates. This vehicle matched the description of the one seen leaving the shooting.
Inside the vehicle, police found Ocasio, the driver, and Sherman. Police found a revolver with five spent shell casings in its chambers inside the trunk.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.