A multiple convicted felon who believed he was being targeted by five gang members was found with a knife, a bullet-proof vest, and a metal baseball bat he wielded when officers knocked on his door, according to Middletown Police.
On Dec. 3 at 11:07 p.m., police were called to Rose Circle and Stoneycrest Drive about a suspicious person yelling he was going to kill someone, according to the police report.
A Dodge Charger on scene, police say, matched the description of one driven by a man who was reported 10 minutes prior as possibly carrying a firearm. Inside, police say, a baseball bat and a knife were in plain view.
The owner, Frank Zaler, 30, of Geer Avenue, Meriden, who was found inside by officers, told them he had been yelling because a “large group of black males had tried to attack him,” the report indicates.
Four days prior, police say, Zaler said five suspected gang members had tried to carjack him at a traffic light on Grand Street. One of the men, the report details, had a firearm, which Zaler said he wrestled from the man and threw out the window.
That’s when the men, whom Zaler didn’t know, said they “were going to kill,” him and took off with the gun, Zaler recounted. He “kept saying he was ‘hardcore’ and would handle the situation on his own,” police say, and was highly agitated and unable to convincingly explain events.
Officers finally concluded Zaler believed the same men were near his home and he acted to protect his girlfriend and child. A search of his home revealed a blue Point Blank body armor vest in a closet, the report says. A records check showed he is a multiple felon with convictions for first-, second- and third-degree assault, threatening and drug violations.
When police returned to the home, the report says, “Zaler answered the door with an aluminum baseball bat raised above his head and made a motion as if he was going to kill us with it.”
Zaler admitted the bullet-proof vest was his, police say, but offered to explanation for why he had it. During processing, officers report, Zaler threatened to punch officers and was placed in an emotionally disturbed person’s cell. A report was made to the Department of Children and Families.
He was charged with criminal possession of body armor and carrying a dangerous weapon.