BRISTOL — Arthur Hapgood Sr. stepped outside 211 Park St. on Monday evening to smoke some marijuana, and when he returned, he was a changed man, witnesses told police.
He was making bizarre comments, waving his arms and yelling, and then started attacking people inside the house before fatally wounding a 1-year-old girl with a kitchen knife, a police report says.
Bristol police said Tuesday they suspect that the marijuana Hapgood smoked was laced with PCP or another powerful psychotropic drug. Hapgood "exhibited a state of mind that doesn't seem consistent with just marijuana use," said Bristol police Lt. Kevin Morrell. "We will be looking at any and all illicit drugs," he said, including PCP and formaldehyde, both of which are common additives to marijuana.
Hapgood told officers that he had "consumed illegal drugs" Monday evening, according to the report. When an officer asked him which drugs, Hapgood responded: "All of them."
Hapgood was staying at 211 Park St., his mother's house, because a day earlier he had been thrown out of the Waterbury home he shared with his wife, Estacy Riquelmy, and their children, according to the police report. His wife told police that Hapgood, 35, had punched her in the eye and mouth.
In Bristol on Monday night, Riquelmy and her daughter arrived at Hapgood's mother's house, where Hapgood was caring for the baby, and Riquelmy and Hapgood began talking about the previous night's events, according to the police report. Riquelmy's daughter was playing with the baby.
Hapgood was apologizing to Riquelmy just before he stepped outside to smoke the marijuana, according to the report.
When Hapgood returned, the couple began to argue "because he was talking strangely to her," Jeremy Hapgood, 19, told police. Jeremy Hapgood is Arthur Hapgood's nephew.
A moment later, Riquelmy called out to Jeremy Hapgood and his younger brother to grab Arthur Hapgood because he was "yelling wildly and waving his arms," the report says.
Arthur Hapgood was yelling, "Call my mother, call my mother," Riquelmy told police, because Hapgood's mother "is the only one who can control him when he's angry." At 7:18 p.m., a neighbor called 911 and police were dispatched.
"All you could hear [was] screaming," said the neighbor, Amber Collins.
Jeremy Hapgood and his brother told police that they tried to hold their uncle and keep him on the floor, but "Arthur was going crazy," so they ran out of the apartment. Someone then yelled that the baby, Zaniyah Calloway, was still in the apartment.
Arthur Hapgood's stepdaughter told police that she was holding Zaniyah when Hapgood began to act strangely and grabbed the knife. She said that her stepfather cornered her and the baby in the living room, and then moved a table to block a doorway so that she couldn't leave, according to the report.
"She reported that Arthur walked toward her and stabbed Zaniyah in the left side of her torso," the report says. The baby fell to the floor and the stepdaughter ran outside.
Jeremy Hapgood told police that he ran back in and saw the baby on the floor with a deep cut to her abdomen and lots of blood. Arthur Hapgood was lying next to the girl, and nearby was a bloody kitchen knife, according to the police report.
Jeremy Hapgood said he grabbed the baby, ran outside and remained there until police arrived. Police initially identified Arthur Hapgood as the baby's uncle, but said that after investigating further they were not sure if there was a blood relation.
Police said that Hapgood's mother, Roberta Hapgood, had been helping care for the baby, and might have been baby-sitting her on Monday. The baby and her mother stayed with Hapgood's mother on occasion, police said. Arthur Hapgood was caring for the baby when the incident occurred, police said.
After people in the apartment fled, according to the police report, Arthur Hapgood stripped naked and threw his bloody clothing outside. He was naked when Bristol officers arrived a moment later and confronted him in the apartment. Officers arrested him without incident.
In the meantime, police and paramedics worked to save Zaniyah. She was taken to Bristol Hospital, then flown to Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, where she died at 9:53 p.m.
Zaniyah, who was called Nyia by her family, and her mother, Shakyia Clay, were not living at the home where the stabbing occurred. Their address is listed in court records as a local shelter.
Clay posted a photo of Zaniyah on her Facebook page Tuesday afternoon and wrote, "R.I.P. baby girl u will truly b miss justice will b served I love u more than words can express rock the heavens."
Arthur Hapgood was taken by ambulance to Bristol Hospital "for treatment of his altered mental state" and a wrist injury, police said.
The state Department of Children and Families said Tuesday that the agency had no current or previous case involving Zaniyah or her mother. The agency is now investigating the baby's family situation, officials said.
Arthur Hapgood, who has criminal convictions for selling drugs, first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny and gun charges, was arraigned Tuesday at Superior Court in Bristol on charges of murder with special circumstances, first-degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor.
"This is a horrifyingly violent crime," prosecutor Paul Rotiroti told Superior Court Judge Robyn Stewart Johnson.
Johnson, citing Hapgood's "significant history of violence," increased his bail to $2.5 million. He is due back in court on Sept. 9 in New Britain.
"Look at me, look at me, why you did that to my niece?" Juan Negron called out in court as Hapgood was being led away. Hapgood, shoeless and dressed in ill-fitting sweat pants and a shirt fashioned from Tyvek coveralls, looked back toward the audience with a blank stare. His hands were shackled to chains around his waist.
Hapgood, who used to live in Bristol, was one of a group of young people charged in 1996 in what police believed was a gang-related, drive-by shooting, according to an account in The Courant. He was 17 at the time of the shooting, which was in retaliation for the July 3 beating of a member of the Pump Nation gang by the 20 Love gang, police said at the time.
More recently, according to police and court records, Hapgood was twice charged with sale of a hallucinogen/narcotic in 2008, once on May 28 and again on July 3. He also was charged with interfering with an officer on May 28, said Waterbury Deputy Police Chief Christopher Corbett.
He was sentenced for those cases on July 7, 2008, to four years in prison, followed by three years of probation. He is still on probation for those crimes.
Riquelmy has a case pending against Hapgood in family court. She filed a petition for family support on Aug. 8 at Superior Court in Waterbury. Riquelmy and Hapgood have at least one child together, according to state officials.
Riquelmy is being represented by the state attorney general's office in her pursuit of child support, and the state Bureau of Child-Support Enforcement has entered the case.
Zaniyah was attacked in a rambling old house in the West End, one of Bristol's most poverty-blighted sections. Neighbors said Tuesday that they were accustomed to occasional car break-ins, low-level drug-dealing and fistfights, but were stunned by the killing of a child. None said they knew the suspect, the girl or her family.
"This part of town has been getting more and more petty crime and drugs, but something like this shocks everybody," resident Luke Anderson said as he walked his two dogs on Park Street.
Anderson grew up in Bristol, but has only been back for a year after spending more than a decade in Baltimore.
"When I came back, I was kind of surprised that it's a lot more like Baltimore [than before]," he said.
Looking at the tan-yellow two-story house where the killing happened, Anderson said he'd heard of no trouble there before.
"This isn't one of the worse houses here," he said.
James C. Lamper, who had brought his dog from the city's Forestville section for a walk in Rockwell Park, said the crime feels like part of a deterioration of society.
"A 1-year-old child who knows nothing of life? This world is turning inside out as we speak," said Lamper, 54, who has lived in Bristol since he was 20.Copyright © 2015, CT Now