Police ID suspect in theft from homicide victim, but video upsets community members
Bridgeport police say they positively identified the man seen on surveillance video stealing evidence from a homicide victim, thanks to help from the public.
For Tony Barr, the PT Barnum Housing Complex is more than the site of a homicide, it's the place where he grew up and lost more than 10 close friends in fatal shootings that span almost half a century.
"I love everyone in the project -- in PT Barnum Project," said Barr.
Barr says a video from June 13 released by the Bridgeport Police Department has the whole city of Bridgeport talking and that it’s been a topic of controversy - as many in the community say it is not something that should not be shown on the news.
"It's a tough situation in terms of…to the family that lost a loved one,” said Barr. "We should, as a community, look at how we can improve media coverage when people are losing loved ones, you know?"
He says the man seen on the ground in the video, which police blurred out of respect to his family, was 22-year-old Kyle Jermaine Dear, a gifted football player with "a heart of gold" who played for Central High School as No. 99 and for Bassick High School as No. 11.
But those qualities that made Dear who he was are eclipsed by the shocking events captured in the 49-second YouTube video.
"The family is mourning a loved one, you know? Family and friends, so it becomes a negative reaction,” said Barr. "Everyone's now mad with the police department."
Police have arrested a suspect in the homicide, 19-year-old Amheir Noel, of Bridgeport. They say they still needed to identify the man in the video, who investigators say can be seen riding up on a red and white dirt bike and stealing from Dear's pocket what appears to be a handgun.
Barr says while the victim's family is outraged by this video, it is important to solve the crime that ended a young life.
"You're in a rock and a hard place,” said Barr. "Because I know this family very well. The main focus has to be on this young man that lost his life to gun violence. But I also can see what the intent was. It wasn't to try to put a negative on a deceased person, but rather to look at a crime that also took place there."
Police have not yet released the name of the man they say stole from Dear, but they thank the public for stepping up to help.