Police affidavit: Homeowner permitted to carry but never reported gunshots
Video footage from an attempted car theft outside a Hulda Lane home and a 15-year-old Waterbury girl with a bullet in her back left Ridgefield police in search of evidence relating to possible charges of first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, risk of injury to a minor, and unlawful discharge of a firearm.
Those are the laws police cited when they applied for a search warrant June 5 following the events that took place earlier that morning at 28 Hulda Lane.
What a search of the property and vehicles revealed was large quantities of marijuana, steroids, pills, more than $26,000 in cash, and a collection of weapons, according to an unsealed affidavit of the warrant.
No charges have been filed against the homeowner, Mauro Tropeano, and police said Wednesday that the incident is still under investigation.
The affidavit states that police found the cash in a five-gallon water bottle and the pot wrapped in “vacuum packaged bags.”
Officers also found injectable steroids and 219 “unmarked yellow tablets” and other pills.
Police said that Tropeano had a permit to carry three handguns, including a Luger .40-caliber handgun. They also found several spent shell casings from that type of gun.
Tropeano, the owner of Stanziato’s Wood Fired Pizza in Danbury, called the police early in the morning of June 5 about a group trying to steal his Land Rover, the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, neighbors on Hulda Lane also called police in the early morning hours. One reported hearing three gunshots while another reported hearing five shots.
“Sounds like there were gunshots next door, boom boom boom boom boom, there were five of them,” a Hulda Lane neighbor told the 9-1-1 operator, the affidavit said.
Tropeano told police that he saw two people crossing the front yard toward his house. When he ran outside, he saw his Land Rover being backed into a lamppost before hitting a tree, court documents state.
In his statement he mentioned seeing two white males, and hearing a female voice.
A 15-year-old girl was shot in the back during the incident, police reported June 5, but survived.
Tropeano did not mention guns or gunshots to police. He said that two people jumped out of the car and got into a Honda CRV that was waiting nearby, according to the search warrant affidavit.
"Mr. Tropeano explained that he then exited his house and saw his vehicle drive forward and cross his driveway ending up striking a pine tree. At this point Mr. Tropeano observed a white male suspect with scruffy hair exit the vehicle and run to a Honda CRV that was waiting for him in the street. He also stated that it appeared the car had 4 possible 5 occupants," the affidavit says. " ... Tropeano stated that he dialed 911 and then placed his cell phone in his pants to give chase to the suspects. He stated that when he picked the phone back up to speak with the operator he discovered he had been connected to Danbury Police Department and had to be transferred to Ridgefield before making a report."
Unclear video footage
The same day, at 11:30 p.m. Tropeano went to the police station and provided them with video from a camera mounted outside his home, the affidavit said. But the footage did not include any shots being fired, according to the search warrant affidavit.
“Tropeano … forgot he had cameras on the outside of his residence and had transferred some of the video footage to his cellular phone for police to view,” the affidavit said.
“The video quality on Tropeano’s cellular phone was not good enough quality to determine whether or not Tropeano’s hands were empty at the time he exited his home.”
A female friend of the 15-year-old girl who was shot initially told Waterbury police that her friend was shot on the street in Waterbury. But the witness later told Ridgefield Detective Jorge Romero that the two of them — along with two other males — “drove to the Wilton areas to steal and break into cars,” the affidavit said.
The affidavit said the friend testified that the group was trying to steal a car when she heard gunfire.
The friend said the group fled the scene and left Tropeano’s vehicle. She also told police that the group stopped to pick up another stolen car before driving the 15-year-old-girl to the hospital, the affidavit said.
Doctors were unable to remove the bullet because it was lodged so close to her spine, according to the affidavit.