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2 dead as police investigate New London fire, shooting

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New London — Two people are dead following a shooting and blaze at a multifamily home in New London on Wednesday night, officials said.

Police responded to reports of shots fired near Granite Street about 7:56 p.m. Wednesday. On their way to the scene, they learned of a fire at a house in the area, at 48 Granite St., according to the New London Police Department.

Two people were found inside the burning house; one was pronounced dead at the scene and another was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, where that person was pronounced dead, according to a news release sent out early Thursday morning by city police Capt. Matthew Galante.

The identities of the dead have not been released, pending notification of their families. It was not yet clear whether they suffered gunshot injuries or died as a result of the fire.

A New London police officer also was taken to L+M to be treated for smoke inhalation. The officer had been released from the hospital as of about 4 a.m. Thursday.

The American Red Cross said in a statement Thursday that it was helping seven families affected by the fire, including nine adults.

It was unclear whether the 48 Granite St. incident was related to an earlier shooting in another neighborhood in which no injuries were reported. In a separate news release, Galante said that at 7:11 p.m., city police were called to the area of Jefferson Avenue and Boulder Drive for a report of shots fired and possible bullet holes inside a home. The incident does not appear to be random and remains under investigation, he said.

New London police and firefighters began evacuating the home at 48 Granite St., which contains multiple apartments, on Wednesday night. Once firefighters broke out multiple windows on the front and side of the third floor of the residence, heavy black smoke poured out.

At the Granite Street scene, neighbors in nearby houses and apartments were out on the street mingling or watching from their windows as firefighters deployed hoses to battle the blaze. Several neighbors, who didn't want their names used out of fear for their safety, said they had heard what sounded like shots fired before 8 p.m., and authorities came soon after.

New London fire Chief Thomas Curcio said the fire was extinguished quickly — within 15 minutes of firefighters arriving on scene. He reported one injury, an unconscious person who had to be pulled out of the building and transported to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, but said there was more to the story.

About 9:15 p.m., fire units had all but cleared out but, Curcio said, police were still on scene and what happened there is largely a police matter.

Curcio said everyone in the building "is going to be put up" and between 10 and 12 people were displaced. In assessing damage to the building, he said one apartment is uninhabitable.

The corner of Granite and Williams streets was partially blocked to traffic. Two Lawrence + Memorial units, an Eversource truck, two Groton ambulances and a New London ambulance, and five ladder trucks and a fire SUV were on the scene, along with several city police vehicles. American Red Cross personnel arrived shortly before 9 p.m.

Stephan Boodlal, who lives in the bottom floor of the apartment building, said police woke him shortly before 8 p.m. and instructed him to evacuate. "One officer came to the side window and knocked on it with a flashlight and yelled something, then I heard banging at the door," Boodlal said. "This is not the first time police have been here." He said there was no damage in his apartment.

A plaque on the front of the building says the structure was built in 1847.

Police are investigating along with assistance from the city fire marshal, New London State's Attorney's Office and state police major crime and fire marshal units.

This is a developing story.

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