NEW BRITAIN -- New Britain Police released the names of the officers involved in the fatal shooting of a suspect on December 14th. They say they did so to support a thorough and transparent investigation. The officers involved are as followed:
- Detective Marcin Ratajczak
- Detective Christopher Kiely
- Officer Michael Slavin
- Officer Kyle Jones
- Officer Chad Nelson
Police say the officers have been placed on desk duty while facts and circumstances of the incident are throughly investigated by the State Police unde rthe supervision of the Middletown State's Attoeny's Office, and they complete an internal adminstrative investigation is conducted by the dpeartment.
New Britain Police say the officers are cooperatingfully with these continuing investigations.
Police officials attempted to stop a teal Toyota Paseo suspected in a string of violent carjackings and armed robberies that occurred throughout New Britain and the surrounding areas. When they failed to stop, officers exited their cruisers with their weapons drawn and ordered the driver and passengers out of the vehicle.
The suspects allegedly refused to comply and instead drove towards the officers at high speed, prompting them to open fire on the vehicle to make it stop.
Officers closed in on the vehicle and detained three individuals, all of whom had sustained gunshot wounds. Ambulances arrived on the scene a short time later and the suspects received medical care.
Zoe Dowdell, 20, of Bloomfield was identified as the driver. He was shot in the neck and later died in the hospital from his injuries.
Noah Young, 18, of Bloomfield was transported to New Britain General Hospital for treatment of graze wounds and minor lacerations to his arm before being released to State Police custody. Investigators found him with three bundles of suspected heroin, each containing 10 individual packets.
A 15-year-old suspect was also hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg. According to police, he was in possession of suspected heroin and bullets.
Young was charged with illegal possession of heroin, possession with intent to sell, and risk of injury to a child. He is being held on $100,000 bond pending upcoming court appearances. The juvenile was issued a summons for carrying weapons in a motor vehicle, possession of a pistol without a permit, and possession of narcotics.
According to an affidavit, one of the incidents involving the Toyota occurred Monday on Kelsey Street. New Britain Police recognized the Toyota from surveillance video near the scene. According to police, those involved in the robbery fired several shots at the victim’s car.
Thursday, New Britain Police noticed the vehicle, and attempted to box it in in the area of Chapman Street and Chapman Court.
“The operator of the Toyota attempted to flee the area and in doing so struck some of the police vehicles, in an effort to elude the police,” the affidavit reads. “Fearing for their safety, New Britain Police personnel shot several rounds from their duty weapons at the Toyota striking the front two occupants of the vehicle.”
In an interview with Connecticut State Police, Young denied any knowledge of the gun in the car or of prior robberies.
FOX61 went to Young’s house and his mother released a statement, “I have every reason to believe that there’s more to this story than what the police is willing to share. I don’t believe these boys shot at the police, I really don’t.”
According to police, the operator drove the vehicle directly towards the officers.
There are two active arrest warrants for Young out from the Bloomfield Police Department for Use of a Motor Vehicle without Owner’s Permission.
Young is being held on bond and due back in court in January.
As per protocol, the officers involved were placed on paid administrative leave, according to Mayor Erin Stewart.
A use of force investigation is currently being done by the CSP Central District Major Crime Squad.
David McGuire, Executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut released a statement following the incident:
"In America, our justice system is supposed to treat people as innocent until proven otherwise, and we value people’s lives over property. Yet police have killed another person in Connecticut, and the public is once again struggling for answers about what happened. Policing should not be a sunlight-free or Constitution-free zone, and it should be beholden to the checks and balances that democracy demands. At minimum, when police shoot and kill someone, the public deserves full transparency. We demand complete, immediate transparency from the New Britain Police Department and a transparent, thorough investigation from the Middlesex State’s Attorney.
The New Britain Police Department should immediately identify the police officers who shot to kill and injure three people. If there is dashboard camera footage or other footage of what happened last night, law enforcement should immediately release footage. New Britain police have only released one-sided information, not the full details of what happened. Transparency will not bring back the life lost last night, but it would be a welcome step toward change."