Updated, 5:26 p.m., name of man arrested.
NORWALK, Conn. – A man was arrested early Sunday morning in Veterans Park after security officers on the Island Belle party boat discovered that he had a loaded handgun, Norwalk Police said.
Sgt. Kevin Markert said security officers found the gun in a bag after the boat left the Veterans Park visitor’s dock for a pleasure cruise. The man was arrested at about 3:15 a.m. Markert did not know the man’s name, or the type of gun. The police arrest report available Sunday lists Rodney Howell, 34, of Bridgeport as having been charged with carrying a gun without a permit. His bond was $2,500.
There were about 18 police cars in the parking lot as Island Belle passengers disembarked the boat in an orderly and calm fashion at about 3 a.m. “This is a good night for them,” Markert said.
Police reported June 29 that passengers disembarking the boat that early Sunday morning were engaged in a large fight. There were injuries, according to police, as well as two broken windows on the boat. Island Belle operator Ken Hart said the police reports were wrong. “Out of 70 or 80 events we have had on the boat, we have never had a problem. We run a safe vessel,” Hart said.
The heavy police presence Sunday morning did not include everyone on the shift, Markert said. Another officer said the shift ended at 3 a.m. Everyone out there was on overtime, he said.
The Island Belle pays to use the Veterans Park visitors dock to board and disembark passengers through a permit obtained by the Department of Recreation and Parks this year from the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Recreation and Parks Department Director Mike Mocciae said the city is paid $3 a foot for vessels to use the dock. The Island Belle pays about $300, he said. The city collects another $1,200 to $1,500 in parking fees each time the boat uses the dock, he said.