BRISTOL - Bristol Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu came under scrutiny this past weekend over the handling of information about a shooting investigation in Bristol last week.
Several users took to Facebook to express their displeasure with the city for not letting residents know that a man who told police he was shot in Rockwell Park, in the parking lot behind Muzzy Field, sought treatment for a gunshot wound to his calf at Bristol Hospital last Wednesday. Police have said the man was not cooperative with detectives and they are still investigating.
Limited details about the investigation were released by police two days after the shooting. The details were divulged when The Bristol Press published a story Saturday after receiving a tip that the shooting had happened and reached out to police for comment.
Some Facebook users over the weekend took exception to the city’s handling of the shooting.
“And we are just hearing of this now?” asked Facebook user Lisa Kilby Supranovich.
Jennifer St. John, another Facebook user, added, “Why on earth did the police not notify the public of this. It’s a freaking park where kids play ... I think parents have a right to know there was a shooting there.”
Zoppo-Sassu, who did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday from The Press, engaged in conversation with some of the Facebook users, defending the decision the city made to not notify the public.
“There is no press release because there is no issue,” Zoppo-Sassu said via her Facebook account. “The investigation is not concluded and it is doubtful that the story will hold up.”
“How is a shooting ‘no issue?’” user Jon Micheal responded.
“How do you know there was a shooting?” Zoppo-Sassu replied, later adding in another comment that the article on the shooting - which was published two days after the incident - was “premature before the investigation was even started.”
On Friday, The Press published a story that said officers were made aware of the shooting after a man, who has not been identified, sought treatment at Bristol Hospital last Wednesday, in the evening hours, for a single gunshot wound to his calf. He did not call police, The Press reported.
Hospital officials notified police, who began an investigation.
Police said the victim gave them limited information about the incident. He told investigators he was in the parking lot behind Muzzy Field when he suddenly heard three gunshots and saw sparks from the bullets hitting the pavement. He then felt pain in his calf and realized he had been hit, the man told police.
As of Friday, police had not confirmed some of the circumstances surrounding the shooting, including where the victim said it happened.
Efforts to reach police on Tuesday for an update on the investigation were unsuccessful.
Facebook user Nicole Jacqueline added, “The headline literally says ‘shooting.’ Children and families play in the park. People deserve to know.”
Zoppo-Sassu went on to say that the city hosted an event called “Neon Nights” at the pool in Rockwell Park Friday night, which turned out over 200 people, citing this as an example that “the parks are safe.”