Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Student Charged After Shots Fired

Police Find Weapons At Yale Frat House
By KIM MARTINEAU Courant Staff Writer

NEW HAVEN - A Yale University student who allegedly fired off pistol rounds in the living room of his fraternity house over the weekend was arraigned Tuesday on charges of reckless endangerment, threatening and breach of peace.

Yale police arrested David Light, 21, on Monday night at his off-campus frat house, Beta Theta Pi, after confiscating 11 guns - including two illegal assault rifles - and a stockpile of chemicals and ammunition, according to Yale and police. Light, who is entering his junior year at Yale, has been temporarily suspended from school and, according to police, may face additional charges.

On Sunday, a 21-year-old man visiting his brother at the fraternity house on Lynwood Place called police to report an unusual confrontation, according to Light's arrest warrant affidavit. Christopher Keefer told police that early Friday, at 3 a.m., he was in his brother's bedroom when he heard gunshots and ran downstairs to investigate.

In the common room, Keefer found shell casings on a coffee table and a housemate, Light, holding a semiautomatic pistol. Keefer, apparently an active-duty member in the military, said he told Light to put the gun down but Light told him not to worry about anyone getting hurt - he was firing blanks.

They had been playing beer pong, a drinking game, throughout the night and at the time Light seemed drunk and belligerent, Keefer told police. He warned Light a second time to put the gun away but Light then fired off another two rounds at the ceiling, he said. Keefer told Light that even blanks could kill or hurt people. Light insisted they couldn't.

As the argument escalated, Keefer asked Light to prove his point that no one would get hurt.

"Why don't I point it at your head to find out?" Light allegedly responded.

At that point, Keefer says he retreated upstairs and quickly left the house. Two days later, he reported the incident to police. On Monday afternoon, he visited the Yale police station accompanied by his mother, who lives on the shoreline, to give a statement.

He told police that several days before the confrontation, Light had shown him an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, a .50-caliber sniper rifle and a .357-caliber revolver that he kept inside his third-floor bedroom.

Police interviewed a maintenance man on the same day who said he'd been in Light's room on Sunday to change the locks and spotted a pistol on the table, a new .50-caliber sniper rifle on the floor and what looked like dozens of boxes of ammunition. Police said Light has long guns registered to him but no state pistol permit.

He is originally from Poway, Calif., near San Diego, and studied chemistry. At Yale, he joined the New Haven Sportsmen's Club.

His emergency suspension will continue until fall, when the board that reviews complaints of student misconduct meets, Yale said. The university stressed that his fraternity house is not owned by Yale and that Beta Theta Pi operates independently.

Bail has been set at $150,000. Light is next scheduled to appear in Superior Court in New Haven on Aug. 2.

Contact Kim Martineau at kmartineau@courant.com.