Crime & Punishment: People Who Shot Themselves

The Connecticut Department of Corrections claims the right to ban violent, sexually explicit or otherwise objectionable books and magazines from prison libraries if they do not have any "redeeming literary, educational or scientific value." Last month, York Correctional Institute in Niantic decided that, due to a few steamy passages, Wally Lamb's novel She's Come Undone fits this criteria, even though the prison has allowed Lamb himself to teach a writing class there. York quickly backtracked, but the incident led the Hartford Courant to look at what materials the department has banned. It has prohibited several novels and nonfiction books about crime and criminals and denied inmates' requests for subscriptions to Phat Puffs and Smooth Girl, magazines featuring pin-ups of curvy models. It barred one issue of Parents because a diaper ad showing a baby's butt is apparently sexual. For some reason, it blocked the autobiography of Ratt lead singer Stephen Pearcy and entire issues of The New Yorker and GQ. The department also seems to take issue with publications that advocate for inmates, banning newsletters from the Coalition for Prisoners' Rights and two books critical of the death penalty.

New Haven has so many street gangs they are now encountering a problem rock bands have faced since the '90s: All the good names have been taken. The city's newest posse is called Slut Wave (though it consists of teenaged boys). Slut Wave has a somewhat un-gangster-ish mode of transportation: bicycle. Police told the New Haven Independent news website that Slut Wave groups swarm on pedestrians, demanding money and/or small possessions, like MP3 players and cell phones. This gang is apparently moving into a territory claimed by gang called the Playboys. "I don't understand why Slut Wave would move that close to the Playboys," bemoaned an officer evaluating turf lines.

Mike Cruz, you are alleged to have committed aggravated murder in a Hartford nightclub. What are you going to do next? "I'm going to Disney World!" the 23-year-old suspect could have answered truthfully. On Aug. 4, Cruz, who has a long arrest record, allegedly got into a confrontation with Brian Sempe at a club called Up or On the Rocks, where he reportedly took out a handgun and fatally shot Semple. Cruz apparently did not see that as a reason to amend his vacation plans. Police learned he had taken off for Disney World and contacted officers in Orlando, who caught up with Cruz relaxing at the side of a swimming pool, reports WFSB.

An industrial accident in Plainville caused a piece of a fire extinguisher to go flying through the air and fall like meteorite onto the roof of a home several yards away. An employee of JW Green Company, a scrap-metal yard, was using heavy-duty shears to cut through a metal beam and did not see the extinguisher beneath it. The device combusted propelling a piece of it into the air. The metal chunk landed a fourth of a mile away on the home, taking out a few roof tiles (but not causing any additional damage or harm). "We try to be careful, and we generally are," a JW Green employee assured NBC Connecticut, adding, "This doesn't happen that often."

The one-time animal-control officer for Wolcott was charged with animal cruelty for alleged acts committed on the job, reports WFSB. Responding to complaints about conditions in the town kennel, police set up cameras and reportedly caught Joseph Ouimet spraying two dogs with a hose and slamming another repeatedly in a door. Footage also appears to show Ouimet, 41, taunting one dog while all the others were fed, holding a bowl of dog food outside the kennel door before throwing its contents over the top onto the animal. (Ouimet resigned after he was told he was the subject of an investigation.)

Wendell Docteur came into Bridgeport Hospital with a gunshot wound in his leg. He claimed he had been riding his bike when six men accosted him and demanded money before one of them shot him, police told the Connecticut Post. The men apparently retreated shouting, "North End! North End!" indicating they were a gang from the North End of Bridgeport. But police could only find an exit hole in Docteur's pants. When confronted about this, he allegedly admitted he had been cycling with a handgun in his pocket and accidentally shot himself.

Ledyard has been plagued by a vicious attack lizard. A four-foot-long monitor lizard, a type known as an aggressive carnivore, had been seen around town, reports the Hartford Courant. Police believe it to be an escaped or abandoned pet (though keeping such a lizard is illegal in Connecticut) and caught up with the scaley stalker when it attempted to raid a chicken coop. This creature was apparently so fearsome officers decided to open fire to protect themselves.

Remember that episode of "Breaking Bad" in which kleptomaniac Marie visits open houses of homes for sale and steals small items? Apparently, people actually do that. Angela Ruitto of Old Saybrook has been accused of pilfering from real-estate open houses in an alleged crime spree that may extend across Connecticut, reports WFSB. Ruitto, 26, has, thus far, been charged by police in Glastonbury and Guilford for thefts in their respective towns.

A Fairfield resident reported an SUV moving erratically down a street. A police officer located the vehicle and stopped the driver, Harriet Adams. He asked if she had been drinking. Adams, 44, reportedly said she had not. The officer took her license and registration. When he returned, Adams was slumped over the steering wheel, passed out, police told the Fairfield Citizen.

An 81-year-old New Haven man loaded his shotgun and sat waiting for a racoon he had seen in his backyard. The gentleman sneezed, which apparently caused him to fall from his chair and shoot himself in the leg, police told the New Haven Register. His son drove him to Yale-New Haven Hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.