STAMFORD, Conn. -- A Westhill High School basketball star is facing serious charges after he was ordered at gunpoint to drop his handgun during a police pursuit through a pair of Stamford parks on a beautiful summer evening Tuesday that ended when he was tackled to the ground by a pair of officers, police said.
Parish Rowell, 18, of 25 Hazel St., Apt. #2, was charged with illegally carrying a pistol without a permit and interfering with an officer. He was held on $100,000 bond.
Capt. Richard Conklin praised responding officers for their professionalism and restraint in a dramatic situation that could have ended tragically.
Officers were called to Carwin Park shortly after 7 p.m. on a report of a group of young men loitering and possibly selling drugs, police said.
Patrol units and members of the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit (NOC) also responded because they had information that several members of the group were suspected of either having or having carried firearms in the past, police said.
When officers arrived, Rowell began to run and was seen putting his hand to his waistband in a move officers believed was to secure a gun, police said.
He disregarded commands to stop and continued running, police said. When Rowell came to a fence at a second park, he was ordered by Lt. Chris Baker to put his gun down, police said. Rowell hesitated but didn’t drop the gun, police said. He eventually dropped the gun, continued to flee and was tackled by a pair of NOC officers, police said.
He “violently” resisted arrest, Conklin said, and refused commands to put his hands behind his back. At one point, Rowell also bit an officer in the left hand, he said.
As officers were making the arrest, a group of about 20 young men in the park began verbally abusing officers, police said. Backup was called, and the group was dispersed and the park closed for about an hour for an investigation, Conklin said. When the park reopened, several officers remained on the scene to ensure safety, he said.
Conklin said Rowell apologized while being processed at police headquarters, saying, “My bad. I’m sorry."