Government Police/Fire

West Hartford Man Charged After Making Anti-Gay Slurs, Referencing Orlando Shooting

Mario Interlandi. Photo courtesy of West Hartford Police

The incident occurred Wednesday morning at the Home Depot on New Park Avenue in West Hartford.

Mario Interlandi. Photo courtesy of West Hartford  Police

Mario Interlandi. Photo courtesy of West Hartford Police

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford Police responded to an incident at the Home Depot at 503 New Park Ave. in West Hartford Wednesday after a customer engaged an employee in a verbal confrontation that involved use of an anti-gay slur and referenced Sunday’s shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

According to police the confrontation, which took place at 11:25 a.m. Wednesday, started when a customer, Mario Interlandi, 71, of Oakwood Avenue in West Hartford, asked the Home Depot employee why he was wearing gloves while working as a cashier. The conversation “quickly evolved into a harassing discussion about the employee’s sexuality,” police said.

Interlandi reportedly used derogatory anti-gay terms toward the Home Depot employee, and referenced the Orlando shooting. The conversation was overheard by another employee, police said.

Police said that the victim took a photograph of Interlandi’s license plate and reported the incident to police, who tracked Interlandi down, interviewed him, and arrested him “based upon the totality of the circumstances.”

Interlandi has been charged with breach of peace and intimidation based on bigotry or bias. He was held on $25,000 surety bond, and also issued a criminal trespass warning for Home Depot.

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