By Tim Loh

A 24-year-old Bridgeport man was arrested yesterday in relation to a shooting incident that occurred near the Seagrape Cafe shortly after midnight Wednesday.

Arrested at approximately 4 p.m. on charges of first-degree threatening, unlawful discharge of a firearm and first-degree reckless endangerment was Alex Ortiz.

According to police, Ortiz said that someone threw something at his vehicle as he left the Seagrape Cafe, 1109 Reef Road, and that this resulted in an argument. He reportedly confessed to discharging the gun and led police to the weapon's location, behind a garage on Fairfield Beach Road.

The gun shots were fired just before 1 a.m., on a typical night with lots of college students walking around the area, police said. Witnesses reported that a silver Mazda pulled up beside someone walking down the street, that the driver exchanged words with the walker -- something like "Who's tough now?" police said -- and that the driver then fired five shots into the air.

Police were stationed at the time on Fairfield Beach Road, about halfway between Rowland Road and Reef Road. By the time officers responded, the vehicle had escaped the scene, police said. Ortiz, who is a valid gun permit holder, was stopped by police immediately following the incident as the department searched for suspects in the vicinity. Police said he was released because he did not have a weapon on him.

However, police said, the investigation led police to seek Ortiz as a "strong suspect" and he was arrested Wednesday afternoon.

Police are referring to this as an "isolated incident" and said they are investigating it fully. Police spoke with several witnesses who were walking westbound on Fairfield Beach Road at the time of the incident, on the left side of the road. Officers also found bullet casings near the spot of the gunfire.

"This is one of the most challenging calls we could respond to and we have an entire team working on it, to identify the vehicle and the persons involved, and to collect evidence," said Sgt. James Perez, the police spokesman.

The department is asking anyone with information on the incident to contact the detective bureau at 203-254-4800.