Man dead in Terryville gas station shooting; suspect in custody

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 11:24 PM EDT|Updated: May. 5, 2023 at 11:45 AM EDT
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PLYMOUTH, CT (WFSB) - A man was killed in a gas station shooting in Terryville.

Police said it happened at the Gulf Gas Station on 120 Main St. just before 11 p.m. on Thursday.

A suspect was arrested at the scene.

The victim has been identified as 42-year-old Phillip Harris of New Britain.

Police identified the suspect as 40-year-old Charles Whitefield Jr. of Terryville.

Charles Whitefield Jr.
Charles Whitefield Jr.(Plymouth Police Department)

Whitefield Jr. was charged with murder. He was held on a $2 million bond and appeared in court Friday.

People were asked to avoid Main Street from Allen Street to Route 72 during the investigation.

Plymouth Public Schools superintendent Brian Falcone said the investigation could have impacted school bus routes.

“Due to an incident that occurred in town [Thursday] evening, there are currently road closures on Route 6 between Route 72 and Allen Street,” Falcone wrote the to school community. “At this time, we are uncertain if our buses will be able to get through these areas to pick up students at their regular bus stops. Students impacted by these road closures can get on a bus at our Allen Street and Beach Avenue bus stop or at our North Riverside Avenue bus stop. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause [Friday] morning.”

When officers arrived on scene, they said they found an unconscious male victim who suffered from life-threatening gunshot wounds. The victim was transported to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Officers said a lone male suspect was apprehended at the scene. Video shows the man get taken away in handcuffs.

When a Channel 3 crew arrived to the scene, it saw a car left running and another vehicle with the gas pump still in it.

Neighbors said they heard the shots.

“We come down after we heard the sirens and everything was settled down,” said Chris McMullan, who lives nearby. “It was a pretty scary sight. It ain’t normal. Don’t bring that around here.”

“It was like seven fireworks went off but they were really close,” said Randall Lewis, a neighbor.

Residents knew the popping sound they heard wasn’t a car backfiring.

“No definitely not, you could certainly notice a difference there was a lot of shots fired,” said McMullan.

“Somebody shouting and then I saw a body on the floor right over there on the ground,” Lewis said.

“The guy who I saw in the orange was actually brought away. He walked back-and-forth. He walked out and then he walked back into the gas station and he walked out again. A woman and him were having some kind of argument,” Lewis said.

What caused the deadly confrontation is still under investigation.

“I own the gas station for two years, this never happened like this,” said Md Rahman, the owner.

Rahman said police have already taken the security footage and are reviewing it. It’s something he said he can’t bear to do.

“Somebody died. there is no answer very upset for his family,” Rahman said.

Mayor Joseph T. Kilduff issued a statement.

“Any loss of life due to violence is tragic,” Kilduff said. “Something like this rarely happens in our small town, so when they do, it is shocking. My thoughts and prayers are with the families affected.”

Police called the shooting an isolated incident and said there was no threat to the public.

State police said they were helping with the investigation.

Plymouth police are asking anyone who saw the confrontation to give them a call.

The mayor said this is the town’s first homicide since 2020.