The progressive left loves to use visible victims as tools to push their ideological causes. Perhaps in this instance, prior to jumping on the Gabby Giffords gun ban-wagon (aka “gun violence prevention”), the people of Newtown Connecticut could pause and remember a prior story from Cheshire, another town a little less than ten miles away.
Personally I would much like to see Dr. Petit in the “gun debate” and gain his perspective on what he would have done with a firearm at the time of his victimization. I most certainly would like to see him strongly pushing back against the opportunistic Gabby and Mark Giffords.
CHESHIRE, CONNECTICUT Aug. 6 — Dr. William A. Petit Jr., his head bloodied and legs bound, stumbled out of a rear basement door of his two-story home here into a pouring rain, calling the name of a neighbor for help.
The neighbor heard the shouting, but so did the two men inside the house, who peeked outside from an upstairs window. They were both serial burglars with drug habits, having racked up numerous convictions for stealing car keys and pocketbooks.
This time, they took something far more precious.
The men, the authorities say, had already strangled Dr. Petit’s wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and in short order would also kill the couple’s two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11.
The elder suspect, Steven J. Hayes, 44, had poured gasoline on the girls and their mother, according to a lawyer and a law enforcement official involved in the case, in hopes of concealing DNA evidence of sexual assault. He had raped Ms. Hawke-Petit, and his partner, Joshua Komisarjevsky, 26, had sexually assaulted Michaela.
Moments after Dr. Petit escaped, as the house was being surrounded by police officers, the men lighted the gasoline. The girls were tied to their beds but alive when the gas Mr. Hayes had spread around the house was set aflame. [...]
That Sunday, Michaela — a budding cook whom people called K. K. — made a pasta sauce of native tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil and mixed up a balsamic vinaigrette for the salad. At a memorial service for his family, Dr. Petit said that whenever he came home to find Michaela watching the Food Network, he knew he would have to catch the basketball game in the office upstairs. “Sometimes if it was a long day I pulled rank,” he admitted.
Hayley — Hayes to relatives — dreamed of becoming a doctor like her father, and was bound for Dartmouth College, his alma mater.
She was always following in Dr. Petit’s footsteps, shadowing him at the hospital on Saturdays, walking behind his white coattails into patients’ rooms.
In April, the Petits celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary. They had met at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, where she was a new nurse and he was a third-year medical student. For their first date, he invited her to dinner, but also invited his parents and two of his parents’ friends. [...]
The authorities say the intruders entered the house through an open door at 3 a.m. Monday as Dr. Petit slept in a chair on the first floor, his wife and daughters in their rooms upstairs. The previous evening, the men had followed Ms. Hawke-Petit and Michaela home from the parking lot of a Super Stop & Shop three miles away. [...]
The authorities say that the Petit home was at least the third in Cheshire that the two men burglarized since the start of that weekend. They sneaked into one through a screen door and took a money clip —with credit and A.T.M. cards, and $140 in cash — from the kitchen counter Sunday morning. They broke in through a back screen of another Saturday night. [...]
Shortly before 9:30 a.m. that Monday, Ms. Hawke-Petit walked into a Bank of America branch and withdrew $15,000 from the account she shared with her husband. Mr. Hayes waited in the parking lot in Maplecroft Plaza, the same shopping center where the two men had watched Ms. Hawke-Petit and her daughter the day before.
Ms. Hawke-Petit told the teller that she had to have the money because her family was being held hostage, and that if the police were notified, her family would be killed.
Debbie Biggins, 50, was opening a new account at the bank when she noticed Ms. Hawke-Petit, who seemed tense and in a rush. “I could feel it,” Mrs. Biggins said in a recent interview. “I felt fear.” After Ms. Hawke-Petit left, Mrs. Biggins said, she saw the teller hand a manager a slip of paper.
A bank employee called 911 about 9:30. “The call came in as a suspicious transaction with a hostage situation, but it wasn’t clear,” said a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is still under investigation. The Cheshire police have refused to release a full timeline indicating when officers arrived on Sorghum Mill Drive, but described their response as “immediate.”
By 9:45 a.m., seven to nine Cheshire police officers, including SWAT team members, were working to secure a perimeter around the Petit house, and a police helicopter was en route.
About five minutes later, Dr. Petit stumbled out of a basement door onto the rear of his property, calling the name of a neighbor, who took the bleeding doctor into his garage and dialed 911.
After lighting the fire, the two men jumped into the family’s Chrysler Pacifica sport utility vehicle. They crashed into a police vehicle in the driveway, then slammed into two police cruisers parked nose to nose as a barricade not far from the house, where they were taken into custody.
Hayley Petit – 17-year-old’s bed, where she was tied up, raped then doused with gasoline and set ablaze..
Inside the house on Sorghum Mill Drive, Hayley and Michaela died of smoke inhalation, not from their burns, according to the Connecticut medical examiner. Their mother was found downstairs. (full article)