Convicted felon arrested with handgun while driving taxi

Man had been convicted of selling Russell Peeler gun used in 1999 "BJ" Brown murders

A man convicted of selling the gun used in the murder of a Bridgeport mother and her child in 1999 was arrested early Monday, Dec. 16, in Fairfield after police found him with a fully loaded handgun.

Albrent Daniels

Albrent Daniels

Albrent Daniels, 39, of Seeley Street in Bridgeport, was arrested after a Fairfield police officer saw him talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device.

Daniels, police said, was convicted of selling the gun used to kill 8-year-old Leroy “BJ” Brown and the boy’s mother, Karen Clarke in 1999. Russell Peeler was convicted of killing the boy and mother because “BJ” was going to be a key witness in a 1998 barbershop murder in Bridgeport.

Fairfield police said Officer Mike Paris saw a man, later identified as Daniels, operating a Yellow Taxi Cab, stopped at the stop sign northbound on Chambers Street at Johnson Drive around 1 a.m. Monday, holding cell phone to his left ear without the use of a hands-free device.

Police said Paris approached the vehicle and asked what he was doing. Daniels responded, “I’m on the phone,” police said.

The officer then advised Daniels that it was illegal to talk on the phone in this manner. Daniels then drove away in an evasive manner onto the I-95 entrance ramp, according to police.

Paris followed Daniels and conducted a motor vehicle stop on the ramp. During a subsequent search police said they found a fully loaded 9mm pistol underneath the driver’s seat with 11 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber. The pistol also had the serial number scratched off, police said.

Subsequently, officers also found shell casings, as well as marijuana and drug paraphernalia in both his car and on his person.

Daniels was arrested and transported to police headquarters. During interviews with officers, there were numerous discrepancies in Daniels account of when and how he purchased the gun, police said.

Fairfield Police contacted Bridgeport detectives to inform them of the arrest and to see if the gun or shell casings discovered in Daniels car were involved in any crimes in the city.

Daniels was charged by Fairfield police with weapons in a motor vehicle, carrying a pistol without a permit, altering a serial number on a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and operating a motor vehicle without a hands-free device.

Daniels is being held in lieu of a $100,000 bond and is due in court on Dec. 30.

“Our officers on the midnight shift have been doing some great work,” Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara said of the arrest. “This is a terrific example of that.”

Although there are statutes that prohibit the hiring of anyone convicted of gun or weapons charges as cab drivers, there is a loophole which allows such people to be hired as independent contractors.

When contacted by the Fairfield Sun, the Yellow Taxi Cab refused to comment on the incident.

“Obviously this is of great concern to us,” MacNamara said. “This community relies on public transportation. We want to make sure all cabs are in good operating order and the drivers are properly vetted.”

At the time of release, it was unclear exactly what Daniels employment status was with Yellow Taxi Cab. Police said they are still investigating.

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