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Man Who Allegedly Threatened to Shoot Coworkers Fighting to Get Guns Back

Robert Zordan claims that Farmington Police made errors in seizing his 13 guns — including taking them in the first place.

 

A Torrington man from whom Farmington Police seized 13 guns after he reportedly threatened a mass shooting at his workplace Dec. 27 in Farmington is trying to get them back.

Robert Zordan, 53, stormed out of a meeting at Connecticut Spring and Stamping and later told friend and fellow employee Shawn Gibbons that he planned to “go back to work and use his .40 to shoot a bunch of people,” police said.

But Zordan denies making the threats and says that police were wrong to take his weapons — all but one of which were legally registered to Zordan.

In a civil case heard at Bantam Superior Court, Zordan’s attorney Rachel Baird told the judge that not only is there no reason for the state to keep Zordan’s guns but that Farmington Police made numerous errors in procedure in seizing the weapons. 

According to Edward Peruta, a gun rights activist volunteering for Baird, “There were some very serious missteps on the part of Farmington police in this incident.” Perutta named a long list of alleged violations, including not securing a warrant before seizing Zordan’s guns from his home, failing to read Zordan his Miranda rights and embellishing testimony.

The procedures are complicated, and police and Baird have been unable to agree on the facts of what actually took place.

Peruta said that Farmington Police, along with Torrington Police, went to Zordan’s house in Torrington to seize the weapons under the premise that Zordan posed imminent risk to himself or others. But, he said, they allowed Zordan to retrieve the loaded weapons and hand them to officers.

The Waterbury Republican American newspaper reported on Zordan’s hearing in Bantam Superior Court on Jan. 15 and 17. According to the articles, Torrington Police Sgt. Thomas Rouleau testified in court that he didn’t believe Zordan posed any risk to him or to the officers who went to the house.

Police reportedly told Zordan he had to turn over the weapons or be held in custody until a warrant could be secured. Zordan asked if he could give the guns instead to his son, a state trooper, but police said no.

The defense is also claiming that police did not speak to Gibbons, the employee who reported the threat, until the day after the guns were taken.

Finally, the Waterbury Republican American reports that Zordan was given a mental health evaluation at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and was released without any medications or referrals.

But Farmington Police reject Baird’s version of the story and maintain that Zordan, who reportedly made the threats not long after the Newtown school shootings, may have posed a real threat and that the department took responsible steps to ensure public safety.

“I’m aware the defense is making certain claims and we're comfortable with the actions that we took,” said Farmington Police Lt. Marshall Porter. “The defense can argue all they want that he wasn’t a threat to himself or others but officers certainly did not allow him to handle or hand them loaded weapons.”

“I know there was a lot of questioning regarding the warrant time frames,” Porter said. “We really felt he was a danger.”

In addition, police cite several inaccuracies in the Republican American articles. Among them, Farmington officers said they had several conversations with Gibbons before seizing the guns but did not take a written statement until the next day.

Unless the state has proven that Zordan remains a risk, the guns will be returned. Judge Elizabeth A. Gallagher has not yet returned a decision in the case. Zordan still faces charges of illegal possession of an assault weapon, second-degree threatening and second-degree breach of peace in criminal court on Feb. 20. He was released on $250,000 bond following the arrest. 

Adam January 30, 2013 at 12:10 PM
If he is such a grave risk, why is he out on bail? The story does not add up. Also, the catch all "breach of peace" is so broad and vague that the police can charge you with it for anything, especially if there would be a political backlash if no action was taken.
J B January 30, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Zordan denies making the threats? So this is yet another strange "conspiracy" of some sort? Not everything seems to "add up" in this guy's arrest saga, but he must have said or done something that someone perceived as a threat -- apparently involving guns. If so, an inexcusable thing to do at anytime... but a couple of weeks after Sandy Hook?? As we've discovered too often, uncontrolled anger plus access to guns can have serious consequences. I'm glad that police were involved. Per the article the defendant is presently charged with threatening and illegal weapons possession (etc.). Sad thing is he has a chance to get a number of his (many) guns back at some point - perhaps via legal maneuvering.
Sue Budde January 30, 2013 at 06:27 PM
9 years ago last week, my aunt's husband made a bunch of threats against my aunt & cousin. He was arrested for breach of peace & threatening and put on a 48 hour psychiatric hold. His guns were confiscated and given to his adult son to hold. 2 days later, he was released, went to his son's house to pick up his guns, then went home and murdered my aunt, my cousin and my cousin's boyfriend. If the police in that case had done their jobs & taken the steps that Farmington & Torrington police took in this one, my family might still be intact today. I'm sick of people who think a person's "right to bear arms" trumps the rights of innocent people to not be shot & killed. Bravo to the police for taking the action to keep dozens of people safe. As far as I'm concerned he should never get his guns back. He forfeited that "right" when he made threats against innocent people.
Jessie Sawyer (Editor) January 31, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Sue, I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your family. Thank you for sharing your perspective. Keep your chin up. Jessie Sawyer Editor, Avon Patch

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