Today — dwarfed by a 40,000-square-foot office building — it’s hard to imagine that Gorham Island even is an island.
But the spit of land now joined to Parker Harding Plaza was once home to a gorgeous Victorian home. (Though — like many other structures in Westport — it apparently was built elsewhere, then moved.)
In addition to being a favorite subject for artists, the Gorham Island home was known for something else.
Early on July 4th morning of 1961, Brendan McLaughlin — a former Marine working as a New York advertising executive — shot and killed his father during a family argument inside the house.
McLaughlin fled. An hour before dawn he burst into the police station on Jesup Road. He pulled out a semi-automatic pistol and fired at 2 policemen behind the front desk, wounding Donald Bennette.
Officers chased him into the parking lot, where he shot officer Andrew Chapo. A shootout ensued; McLaughlin was wounded.
Chapo and Bennette recovered. McLaughlin died several weeks later.