Danbury police have ‘good leads” in fatal shooting

Jason Hoffman, or “Jay,” as he was known, had been out of prison for less than a year before he was shot in the chest and killed at an upscale condominium community just south of Candlewood Lake.

Police have not yet made an arrest in the fatal shooting Wednesday of the 33-year-old Brewster man, but authorities said they are continuing to investigate the killing.

“We are making progress and we feel confident we will be able to make an arrest,” Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour said Friday about the first homicide in Danbury since 2017.

Ridenhour said he would not disclose details of the investigation, except that police were confident the public was not at risk with the gunman at large.

He said police are following “a few good leads” in connection with the shooting.

“We are following the evidence and interviewing people who may have relevant information and tracking his whereabouts several hours before his death,” Ridenhour said.

Hoffman went to the condo to see a friend before he was shot and killed, according to authorities.

In 2014, the Brewster High School graduate spent five years in prison after he was convicted of manslaughter and sale of narcotics for injecting a 39-year-old man with a fatal dose of heroin and cocaine four years earlier.

He was released from prison in October of last year. He was given five years probation at the time of his release.

‘A huge heart’

Hoffman’s father, Jeffrey Hoffman, said he was frustrated by reports about his son’s previous conviction, saying it had “no bearing” on his son’s death.

“He had a lot of problems and he tried to work them out, but he had a huge heart,” he said. “I hope they get this guy who did this to him.”

He said Jason was charged with manslaughter after he tried to help the man who died of an overdose in 2010.

“He was the only one who stuck around and called 911 and tried to perform CPR,” Jeffrey Hoffman said.

He described his son as a fan of sports, who played football in high school and fished at a nearby reservoir in New York. “He was just a kid who would do anything for anybody,” he said.

The victim’s father said he spoke to the police earlier in the week, “they’ve given me virtually nothing,” he said.

Danbury State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky declined to say whether police believe the homicide was drug related, or if any warrants had been issued in connection with the shooting.

“I do know that they’re in the process of interviewing a number of people, but it is an ongoing investigation,” he added.

Crime scene

The upscale hamlet of condos where the shooting occurred was quiet Friday morning. Several neighbors declined to be interviewed when asked about the shooting. One neighbor a few doors down from the condo where Hoffman was shot said he did not hear any disturbance until a fire truck arrived in the early morning hours.

Police tape marking the crime scene had been removed, and nothing from the outside appearance of the condo suggested it was the scene of a fatal shooting.

A pistol was recovered a few feet from where Hoffman was shot, authorities said. A reporter from News 12 Connecticut posted a photo to Twitter Wednesday purportedly showing police recovering the handgun from a nearby storm drain.

The weapon appeared to be a black, semi-automatic handgun with the breech locked open and a magazine nearby.

Sedensky said he could not comment on whether the weapon was the gun involved that fired the fatal shot. “I know that they’re probably going to be submitting it to a lab at some point, I don’t know if that’s been done yet,” he said.

He declined to give the make and caliber of the firearm, citing the ongoing investigation.

Another photo posted by the same reporter showed a red sedan with New York state license plates being towed from the driveway in front of the condo where the shooting occurred.

Detective Lt. Mark Williams of the Danbury police said a person at the address called 911. He said Hoffman was pronounced dead at the hospital.

He did not give specifics on the gun recovered by police, and said the weapon has not been confirmed to be involved in the death.

Connecticut state police said they were not involved in the homicide investigation. Sedensky noted that larger police departments — including Danbury — typically process their own crime scenes, since they have the resources to do so, whereas smaller departments may turn to the state police for help processing evidence.

Hoffman’s funeral is Sept. 11 at St. Lawrence O’Toole Church in Brewster, his obituary notes.

Public confidence

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said he was satisfied the police department was doing everything it could to keep the public informed during an active investigation.

“I think we have to let the police department do its work,” said Boughton. “This is a matter under investigation and when an arrest is made, more details will be shared.”

The Democratic challenger for mayor in November also expressed confidence in the police department but said he expected more from City Hall.

"It is important that the mayor provides a transparent process by regularly briefing the public as to the status of the investigation while allowing the detectives to perform their work,” Chris Setaro said. “There was a shooting in our city, and it's the responsibility of the mayor to maintain the confidence of the public.”

Staff writer Kendra Baker contributed to this report.