Two people told police they saw James G. Robertson shoot Ralph Colon on a fire escape of Robertson's South End building, according to court documents released Monday.
Robertson, a former Hartford Courant reporter and editor, was arraigned on a charge of murder Monday in Superior Court in Hartford in connection with the fatal shooting of Colon Thursday. Bail was set at $1.5 million.
Colon, 56, of Saybrooke Street in Hartford, had accompanied a friend to Robertson's apartment Thursday evening and apparently had been trying to intercede in a dispute when Robertson shot him, according to an affidavit filed by police to obtain an arrest warrant. Colon died Friday morning at Hartford Hospital.
The friend, Jesse Huergas, and one of Robertson's neighbors both told police they witnessed the shooting.
The affidavit says Robertson told a 911 operator at 8:42 p.m. Thursday that he ``shot a guy that broke in his house.''
When police arrived Colon was lying on the third-floor fire escape.
Police officers then forced their way into Robertson's apartment and found a handgun lying on the floor, the court documents say. The gun had been fired twice, police said. Police took Robertson to the major crimes division of the Hartford Police Department for questioning and during that interview, police say, he suffered a heart attack. He was treated under guard at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center while police continued investigating.
Huergas, 48, told police he and Colon were having a few drinks Thursday when he received a telephone call from a friend who lived in Robertson's building, asking why Huergas was harassing Robertson, his next-door neighbor.
Huergas said he did not know Robertson and had not harassed him. But about a week earlier, Huergas told police Robertson had made derogatory gestures toward him during a cookout, the arrest affidavit says.
After the phone call, Huergas said, he and Colon knocked on Robertson's door in an attempt to confront him about the accusation. Huergas told police that Robertson cursed at them, and Colon stepped between the two men.
Huergas told police that Robertson ``pulled out a small handgun from behind his back and fired several times at Ralph,'' the warrant said.
Huergas said Robertson then pointed the gun at Huergas' head. Huergas said he told Robertson, ``You might as well shoot me too,'' the affidavit says.
The document says Robertson responded, ``I'll wait for them to come and get me.'' Then he went inside his apartment and shut the door.
A neighbor in the building told police she was in her kitchen when she heard the gunfire. She told police she opened her door and saw Robertson ``holding a gun'' pointed at Huergas' head.
She said Colon was lying on the floor and a second guy yelled for her to call police. She told investigators she saw Robertson fire the gun at Colon, the affidavit says.
Police spokeswoman Nancy Mulroy said police are investigating both accounts of the story but could offer no further details about the motive for the shooting.
Judge Elliott Prescott transferred Robertson's case to Superior Court's Part A in Hartford, where the most serious felony cases are heard, and continued it until Aug. 21.
Robertson, who used the byline J. Greg Robertson for more than 20 years for The Courant until the early 1980s, later became press secretary and chief of staff for then-Hartford Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry.
The investigation is continuing, police said.