Norwalk shooting victim Kurt ‘Puff’ Lametta remembered as ‘gentle giant’

Photo of Abigail Brone

NORWALK — To many who knew Kurt Lametta, the victim of Thursday’s fatal Nelson Avenue shooting, he was known simply as “Puff.”

“His nickname was Puff because he was a big, big dude, a gentle giant and gentle soul,” family friend Andrew Colabella said Friday.

Lametta, 54, was shot and killed in his rented home on Nelson Avenue. By Thursday evening, Lametta’s landlord, Ellen Wink, 61, was arrested and charged with murder in connection with his death.

An outpouring of support and memories of Lametta flooded social media after his identity was released by Norwalk police on Thursday evening. In the department’s social media post about the arrest, many expressed sadness over Lametta’s death and remembered him as a kind-hearted man.

Colabella, 32, previously worked for the Norwalk public works department. While driving around the city, paving roads and passing by construction sites, Colabella said he’d often run into Lametta.

“I had about six to eight people call me because they saw the police presence on Nelson Avenue,” Colabella said. “When I worked for the city, I would plow that road and that was where I saw Puff. I immediately called his nephew and was like, ‘Is everything OK?’ They were all concerned, and I didn’t know what was going on. No one knew at the time it was him.”

Colabella said he was about 16 years old when he first met Lametta and grew up knowing members of the family.

“It’s weird, you meet someone and keep running into him and realize how our worlds are so small,” he said. “I knew his brother’s kids growing up, went to high school with them. I went from knowing the kids to working on projects with him.”

Lametta was always busy and had a strong work ethic, Colabella said.

“He had the same work ethic as his brother. He was a hard-working person, that’s all he ever did,” Colabella said. “He was always buzzing, always happy and positive. He always had your back. He had your back and knew how and who to defend, but he was a wild soul.”

When he wasn’t working, Colabella said Lametta loved spending time with his siblings, nieces and nephews, and fishing.

“He was really into fishing and being an outdoorsmen, that was why he worked in construction,” Colabella said.

Colabella, who no longer works for the city, is now a Representative Town Meeting member in Westport.

Amid the circumstances surrounding Wink’s arrest, Norwalk officials are calling for her to be placed on leave from her role as the Republican deputy registrar of voters.

City spokesperson Josh Morgan said Wink’s role is an appointment made by the Republican Registrar of Voters, according to state statute.

“However, it’s the city’s recommendation that she be placed on a temporary administrative leave for everyone’s benefit,” he said.

Republican Registrar of Voters Brian Smith did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Republican Town Committee Chair Fred Wilms said he preferred to not take immediate action.

“We need to wait and see as the investigation unfolds and more information comes to light before we make any action,” Wilms said. “Ellen has been actively engaged in Norwalk, a longstanding member of the community in so many different capacities. This story is very shocking. Of course, our thoughts go out to the victim’s family. My thoughts go out to Ellen and her family.”

According to the police report, Wink and Lametta had a contentious relationship dating back to September 2020, when Lametta allegedly stopped paying rent.

Wink was previously arrested in September 2021 following an argument in which she locked Lametta out of the home and threw away his personal belongings, clothes, jewelry and cash, according to the police report. That case is still awaiting disposition and has been statutorily sealed, according to state court records.

abigail.brone@hearstmediact.com