Edwin Road assault suspect arrested; one victim in critical condition

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Jan. 17, 2013
Nathaniel Chambers was arrested Tuesday, Jan. 15, and was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree and conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree. Photo courtesy of the South Windsor Police Department. - Contributed Photo

The suspect in a Jan. 8 assault of two men at Forced Induction Motor Sports, LLC, located at 51 Edwin Road, South Windsor, was arrested on Tuesday, Jan. 15. When Nathaniel Chambers sought treatment for the flu at the Veterans Affairs hospital in West Haven on Monday, Jan. 14, VA police placed a hold on him until Tuesday.

“During the intake, they figured out who he was and that there was a warrant out for him,” said South Windsor information officer Sgt. Scott Custer. "Once he was discharged medically on Tuesday at 1 p.m., our detectives went and picked him up.”

Chambers was presented before the Manchester Superior Court on Wednesday, Jan. 16, on a $250,000 bond. He is charged with conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree and conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree. His bond was later raised to $400,000.

The investigation for the case was still active following his arrest, as police tried to determine the involvement of other people with Chambers at the time of the assault, be they witnesses or accomplices. Custer also said there were items missing from the business that police were still seeking.

While the motive for the assault is still unclear, it sent both Robert Lareau, 28, of Enfield, owner of Forced Induction Motor Sports, LLC, and employee Ryan Kelleher, 21, of Windsor, to Hartford Hospital. While Kelleher was conscious to call 911 following the assault, Lareau was not responsive when police arrived on the scene, and was admitted to intensive care.

The severity of the assault prompted a strong reaction from members of the community, including the creation of a Facebook page, “Pray for Bob and Ryan,” which is followed by approximately 2,000 people. The page has kept the community updated on the victims' condition, and helped publicize a candlelight vigil held Saturday, Jan. 12, which brought more than 100 people to 51 Edwin Road. A benefit fundraiser will also be held at Blackboard Cafe in Windsor Locks on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. to help defray Lareau and Kelleher's medical expenses.

While Kelleher has already been released from the hospital and is recovering, the updates since Jan. 8 paint a grim portrait of Lareau's condition. “Still waiting for things to progress in order to do surgery [on Bob],” read a Jan. 11 update.

“Today is not such a good day for Bob,” read an update two days later, on Sunday, Jan. 13. “He is fighting but his blood pressure is battling right now which is putting some strain on his heart. Surgery is still not an option right now, we have to get through this first step of relieving the pressure and getting him to a point where surgery is safe.” An update later that day said that Lareau was put into a “deeper coma” to help stabilize his blood pressure and heart rate.

On Monday, Jan. 14, an update read that while pressure on Lareau's brain was low enough for the surgery, his lungs had collapsed and were filling with fluid, and his stomach had shut down due to the coma. The next day, a post said that while he went into cardiac arrest the night before, his oxygen levels, blood pressure and pressure on his brain were improved. “He is currently slowly being taken out of the deeper coma,” read the post. “Still taking this one day at a time."

The creator of the page is Nikole Strickland, a friend of both Lareau and Kelleher. In a phone interview, Strickland said that Chambers was a frequent customer at Forced Induction Motor Sports, and a friend of both Lareau and Kelleher. She does not know what caused Chambers to assault the men. An exhaust pipe that Lareau had fabricated for Chambers was allegedly used to beat Lareau, Strickland said, and an unloaded rifle, which Lareau and Kelleher kept at the business and used for recreation, was allegedly used to strike Kelleher.

As of the Jan. 17 interview, Lareau was still in critical condition. “It's still a battle to get to surgery, which is the first step, and from there could be recovery,” Strickland said.

“The trauma will definitely have permanent damage, but [the doctors] can't say how much,” she said. “They said he has a 25 percent chance of not so great quality of life, but then he has a 25 percent chance of moderate quality, and then a 25 percent chance that he'll have good quality with just a few issues,” said Strickland.

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