February 22, 2018
charging the defendant with the crimes of assault in the
third degree, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, and
possession of the weapon in a motor vehicle, brought to the
Superior Court in the judicial district of Fairfield,
geographical area number two, where the court, Holden,
J., denied the defendant's motion to suppress
certain evidence; thereafter, the defendant was presented to
the court, E. Richards, J., on a conditional plea of
nolo contendere to possession of a sawed-off shotgun and
possession of the weapon in a motor vehicle; judgment of
guilty in accordance with the plea; subsequently, the state
entered a nolle prosequi as to assault in the third degree,
and the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.
Osedach, assistant public defender, for the appellant
Timothy J. Sugrue, assistant state's attorney, with whom,
on the brief, were John C. Smriga, state's attorney, and
Richard L. Palombo, Jr., senior assistant state's
attorney, for the appellant (state).
DiPentima, C. J., and Lavine and Pellegrino, Js.
defendant, Monday J. Ortiz, appeals from the judgment of
conviction rendered by the trial court following a plea of
nolo contendere to the charges of possession of a sawed-off
shotgun in violation of General Statutes § 53a-211 and
possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle in violation of
General Statutes § 29-38 (a). On appeal, the defendant
claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to
suppress evidence seized during a warrantless search of his
vehicle. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of
the trial court.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to this
appeal. At approximately 2 p.m. on November 22, 2013,
Bridgeport Police Officer Kenneth Ruge was dispatched to the
YMCA building on State Street in Bridgeport to investigate a
report of an assault. The alleged assault took place at the
Harrison Apartments, which are located in the same building
as the YMCA. The dispatcher relayed to Ruge that the suspect
was in his apartment with a shotgun. Ruge arrived at the
building approximately four minutes later and was met shortly
thereafter by Sergeant Joseph Szor and Officer Tyrone Teele.
The three officers parked their patrol cars in front of the
building on State Street and walked into the lobby area of
the YMCA through the main entrance. While they were speaking
with the receptionist, Samuel Sanchez approached the officers
and identified himself as the victim of the assault.
who worked at the YMCA in the maintenance department, told
the officers that the defendant, a resident of the apartment
building, came up from behind him and punched him in the back
of the head. The officers observed injuries to the back of
Sanchez's head and called for medical assistance for him.
Sanchez described the defendant as a ‘‘shorter,
medium build, bald Hispanic male'' and reported that
he lived in apartment 417 and owned a shotgun.
were speaking to Sanchez, an unidentified man approached the
officers and told them that the person they were looking for
was sitting with a shotgun in a gray van in the parking lot.
Ruge transmitted this information over his radio while the
unidentified man showed them to a side door leading to the
residential parking lot; the man waited for them at the door.
Around the same time, Officers David Neary and Garrett Waddel
arrived and, having heard Ruge's update over the radio,
proceeded to the parking lot to meet the other three
officers. The parking lot was fenced in, located on private
property and required a key card to access it. Posted signs
indicated that the lot was for permitted residents of the
Harrison Apartments only. When the officers arrived, there
was only one gray van parked in the residential lot.
five officers went to the van and looked into it to see if
anyone was inside. Although the windows of the van were
tinted, the officers' ability to see inside the vehicle
was not impeded. None of the officers saw the defendant or a
shotgun in the van. The officers ran a license plate check on
the van and learned that the plate did not belong to the van
and that there was no information on record for the vehicle
Szor and Teele returned to the apartment building to continue
their investigation, while Neary and Waddel stayed behind in
the parking lot by the van. The unidentified man held the
door open so that the three officers could reenter the
building from the parking lot. The officers took the elevator
to the fourth floor and approached apartment number 417. They
knocked on the door for several minutes and received no
answer. The officers then returned to the elevator and, as
the elevator doors opened, a Hispanic male matching the
description given by Sanchez exited the elevator and walked
directly to the door of apartment 417.
officers stopped the man before he could open the door and
asked his name; he identified himself as the defendant. He
was then placed under arrest, handcuffed, and searched
incident to the arrest. The officers seized a key fob, a 12
gauge shotgun shell, a screwdriver and a box cutter from the
defendant's person. When asked if ...