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Investigation clears Hartford cop in shooting last summer

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HARTFORD — Connecticut’s Division of Criminal Justice has cleared a Hartford police officer of any wrongdoing for shooting and injuring a man last June.

The DCJ report released Wednesday found that Officer Tyrell Jenkins was justified in using both non-deadly and deadly force against Tyrinde Mason-Thompson, 22, who lunged at him with a knife several times before he was shot.

Police were called to a home on Andover Street on June 9, 2015, just before 8 p.m., to help the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Capital Region Mental Health Center take care of a person who was experiencing a mental health crisis.

The Health Center was contacted by Mason-Thompson’s mother, who told a dispatcher that her son was agitated, upset and yelling, and reported hearing voices. She said he wasn’t taking his medication and had a history of running away from police.

When police arrived, Mason-Thompson took off and police chased him through several backyards. Mason-Thompson stopped, took out two knives from his waistband, and confronted the officers, according to the report released Wednesday.

The officers ordered him to drop the knives several times, but he refused, so Jenkins used a taser on Mason-Thompson. When that didn’t work, Jenkins said Mason-Thompson made eye contact with him and charged him while brandishing with the knife, according to the report.

As  Mason-Thompson ran towards him, Jenkins dropped his taser and drew his gun. Jenkins quickly backed away from Mason-Thompson and fired three rounds.  At least two hit Mason-Thompson, causing him to fall to the ground, at which point, another officer secured him in handcuffs.

Mason-Thompson was given oxygen by officers on scene, then taken to Saint Francis Hospital for emergency surgery to treat the gunshot wounds to his elbow and abdomen, according to the report. He has since recovered from his injuries and was charged with attempted first-degree assault and carrying a dangerous weapon.

The report concludes that Jenkins was justified in using deadly physical force under Connecticut General Statutes Section 53a-22 because he reasonably believed such force was necessary to defend himself from imminent deadly physical force.

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