Lawyer says client panicked, fired shot in downtown New London incident

The attorney for a 24-year-old man accused of firing a gun and pistol-whipping a man in downtown New London over the weekend said Dillon T. Herman, who had armed himself after the murder of his college classmate Matthew Chew, panicked when the victim continually asked him for marijuana.

"He says, 'I don't do drugs,''' attorney Anthony Basilica told a judge Thursday in New London Superior Court.

After the man approached Herman two or three times, Herman fired the gun away from the victim to scare him off, Basilica said.

"He insists he was approached multiple times," Basilica said. "He did not shoot at the victim."

Herman, of 15 Lake of Isles Road, Preston, was arrested at the scene shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday. He appeared before Judge Kevin P. McMahon on Thursday on charges of discharging a firearm in city limits, breach of peace, attempted first-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, carrying a loaded weapon while intoxicated and third-degree assault.

Herman's arraignment was initially set for May 11, but he was called to court early when the state's attorney's office noticed he was free on a $10,000 nonsurety bond. New London police had set his bond at $150,000 following the 2:53 a.m. incident Sunday. An on-call bail commissioner reduced the bond to $10,000, but prosecutor Rafael Bustamante argued the bond should be higher due to the seriousness of the allegations.

The judge read the police report of the incident on the bench and set bond at $75,000. Herman was expected to post the bond. His next court date is May 16.

Basilica admitted his client, who has no prior criminal history, had been drinking and was on medication that has confusion as a side effect. He said Herman, a college graduate with a good employment history, obtained a pistol permit and armed himself after Chew, a friend from college, was killed in October 2010.

The victim, who is not identified in a police report of the incident, suffered a bruise to the side of the face and scrape marks from numerous falls on the ground, according to the report. The man told police Herman had been asking him for marijuana and said Herman fired a bullet that he heard whiz by his head.

The victim said that after he fell, Herman stood over him, hit him on the left side of the face with the gun and pointed the gun at his head. The victim said he was begging for his life when they heard police approach. He said the accused put his gun down and backed away, acting as if nothing was going on.

Police said the victim had blood on his hands and face and was screaming "He shot me!" when they arrived. Herman was standing over him about 3 feet away and said the man had stolen his truck. The truck was found later, untouched, police said.

The officers said they recovered a Glock .40 caliber pistol from Herman with 11 rounds of ammunition in the magazine and one round in the chamber. Fully loaded, the gun would hold 13 rounds.

Police said they found one spent round in the alleyway next to the Bulkeley House at 114 Bank St.


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