North Stonington shooting victim was tribal member, permittee of New London business

State police investigate a home where one person suffered life-threatening injuries during a shooting in the area of Lantern Hill Road shortly before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in North Stonington. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
State police investigate a home where one person suffered life-threatening injuries during a shooting in the area of Lantern Hill Road shortly before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in North Stonington. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

North Stonington — The man who died in a shooting Wednesday was the only son of the chairwoman of the Eastern Pequot Tribe, Katherine Sebastian Dring, according to law enforcement and tribal sources. 

State police identified the deceased as 31-year-old Ralph Sebastian Sidberry. He is listed as the permittee of the Globe Spirit Shop in New London.

According to his friends, Sebastian Sidberry leaves behind a wife of 11 months and a young child. His wife, they said, is pregnant with their second child.

Investigators from the Eastern District Major Crime Squad responded to 628 C Lantern Hill Road shortly before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday for the report of a shooting with injuries, according to police.

Police found Sebastian Sidberry with a life-threatening gunshot wound. He later was pronounced dead, prompting police to investigate the incident as a homicide.

About 8 p.m. Wednesday, police via Twitter said they were interviewing a person of interest and there was no threat to the community. Police on Thursday said they were continuing to interview witnesses and a person of interest.

Standing outside Globe Spirit Shop in New London on Thursday, a past employee and current employee shared stories of their friend. Between them, they had known him nearly 30 years.

One, a former employee of the package store at 115 Green St. who asked to be identified only as Jeremy P., said he met Sebastian Sidberry at Ledyard Middle School. On Sebastian Sidberry’s first day, Jeremy showed him around.

“We’ve been best friends ever since,” he said.

Twenty-nine-year-old Lester Fantauzzi, a financial backer of the store, called Sebastian Sidberry’s death “shocking.”

Friends with Sebastian Sidberry for about 10 years, Fantauzzi said he remembers playing basketball with him back in the day, even though they were from different towns. He saw Sebastian Sidberry at work several days a week, too, and said the two often hit the beach together.

“What didn’t we do?” Fantauzzi asked, looking toward Jeremy, who was visibly shaken by Sebastian Sidberry’s death.

“He always lived life to the fullest,” Jeremy said. “That’s what I’ll always miss about him. That’s the one thing he taught me how to do.”

Together, they used words and phrases including “energetic,” “super nice” and “big heart” to remember Sebastian Sidberry.

Most of all, Jeremy said, he was “loyal to a fault.”

If a friend needed a couple hundred bucks to pay the bills one month, Jeremy said, “he’d hand it to you and not even think twice.” If you were having car troubles, Jeremy continued, Sebastian Sidberry would send you a host of texts with car deals he thought might be good for you.

“You don’t really come across quality people like that,” he said.

Both said they expect a massive number of people to turn out for the funeral, whenever it occurs.

“He touched a lot of people in this area,” Jeremy said.

A map of property records shows the home at 628 C Lantern Hill appears to sit on the 204-acre parcel at 646 Lantern Hill Road. That parcel, because it’s part of the tribal reservation, belongs to the state. The Eastern Pequots are recognized by the state but have not been able to gain federal recognition.

The last homicide in North Stonington, a heavily wooded, 55-square-mile town with a population of about 5,300, occurred in February 2013, when Debra Denison, 47, shot and killed her grandsons before turning the gun on herself.

Anyone with information pertaining to Sebastian Sidberry’s death is asked to call police at (860) 870-5595 or send tips via text message by texting TIP711 to 274637. All calls and texts will remain confidential, police said.

l.boyle@theday.com

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