WEST HARTFORD - Detectives today continued collecting evidence and interviewing people as they investigated a baby shower that turned into a gun fight at a union hall on Oakwood Avenue.

Four people were shot and are recovering at area hospitals said West Hartford police Det. Capt. Paul Melanson.

Police were called to the United Auto Workers hall at 666 Oakwood Ave. about 11:20 p.m. Saturday for a report of a disturbance. By the time the first officers arrived, two of the wounded were on their way to Hartford Hospital by private car. Another victim was taken by ambulance. It remained unclear Sunday morning how the fourth victim got to the hospital.

One of the victims taken by car to Hartford Hospital suffered a life-threatening wound to the abdomen, but was recovering after surgery, Melanson said.


In addition to collecting and cataloging evidence, police interviewed the approximately 60 people who were attending the baby shower.

"Some were very helpful," Melanson said of those at the shower. "Most were less than forthcoming." Hartford police have been assisting West Hartford detectives. Most of the people at the party were from Hartford, Melanson said. Some appeared to have gang affiliations, based on tattoos and clothing, Melanson said. The source of the initial dispute may have been gang-related or a neighborhood dispute, he said.

Problems began with a dispute inside the union hall, Melanson said. Those involved moved outside. "A fight broke out, then a gun battle broke out after that," Melanson said. Police have reports that eight to 20 shots were fired from multiple handguns, Melanson said.

The incident did not involve members of UAW Local 405, who rent the hall out for events. That may change, however, a union official said Sunday.

"We thought it would be a safe rental," Local 405 President Shawn Tripp said. "It was a baby shower."

The union local is going to evaluate use of its building by outsiders.

"It's a very unfortunate incident and it's going to change the way we do things," Tripp said. "This hall may not be available for rent anymore."

The union hall is along a section of Oakwood Avenue that is in an industrial area just east of New Park Avenue. Local 405 represents workers at Goodrich Corp.