An officer's observation Thursday that a man who wasn't wearing a backpack put one on after he joined a group outside a closed store on Connecticut Avenue led to a gun possession arrest.
Shortly after 7 p.m., Officer Thomas Sullivan reported spotting a group of males standing outside UTOPIA, 150 Connecticut Ave., which was closed. He said he spotted a man not wearing a backpack approach the group. After he joined them, Sullivan said, the man had a backpack on.
Sullivan radioed he was going to investigate a group loitering at the store. He put in his report that as he approached the men, they began splitting up and walking away in different directions.
Sullivan ordered the man with the backpack and another he was walking with to stop and asked where the backpack came from. The man, later identfied as Francisco Sanchez, allegedly replied he just found it.
Sullivan asked if he could search the backpack and Sanchez, Sullivan said, agreed. Sullivan said he spotted a shirt inside the pack. When he lifted the shirt, he said, he felt something heavy, which turned out to be a handgun.
He ordered them to get on the ground, but they began fleeing. Sullivan said he chased Sanchez until he became cornered in a fenced in area behind an apartment building at 189 West Cedar St.
Sullivan took Sanchez, 18, into custody and charged him with criminal possession of a pistol and possession of a pistol without a permit.
The handgun, police said, was a .45-caliber Remington 1911 Automatic Colt Pistol loaded with six cartridges, including one in the chamber. The hammer was cocked and the safety was on.
Police spokesman Lt. Praveen John said Sanchez was one of the males involved in a confrontation on Memorial Day between two groups at Calf Pasture Beach Park. Sgt. Charles Perez, who was patrolling the park that day, called for additional officers, radioing that there was a fight in progress bertween gang members belonging to the Crips and the Bloods.
Police Chief Harry W. Rilling has strongly disputed Perez's description of those involved, saying none of them were associated with a national gang organization.
Sanchez has a case pending after Norwalk Police arrested him May 28 on a charge of disorderly conduct.
Sanchez, who resides at 28 Orchard St., is a convicted sex offender registered with the state. He was convicted on February 24 of second-degree sexual assault of a minor.