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Officer-involved shooting in New Haven during altercation with man with a knife

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NEW HAVEN -- An investigation is underway following an officer-involved shooting in New Haven, Connecticut.

Emergency crews were called to an apartment complex on Ferry Street Tuesday morning around 10:10 a.m. for a medical emergency. Police said a woman called 911 and said her son needed help and she was concerned about his mental state.

"The subject was said to be threatening to harm himself," said Laurence Grotheer, a spokesperson for the city of New Haven.

When officers arrived, police said, a man with a knife lunged at an officer in the first-floor lobby. The officer fired at the man, striking him multiple times in the stomach. The officer was not injured. The man was taken to the hospital. He's in critical, but stable condition and is expected to survive.

The man involved, Robert Orsini-Rodriguez, 38, lives in the Matthew Ruoppolo Manor housing complex on Ferry Street.

Police have not yet identified the officer, who is a four-year veteran of the department. He has been assigned to desk duty pending the outcome of an independent investigation being conducted by State Police, which is standard procedure.

Theresa Peeler, another resident of Matthew Ruoppolo Manor housing complex, said she had just come back into the building's lobby and was sitting down when she was left stunned.

"Oh God! It's something you never want to see again," said Peeler. "His mother was telling him in Spanish to put the knife down, to put the knife down and he was charging after the cops with it and they shot him twice."

"The mother is so distressed," said Nancy Peterson, another resident. "The building is praying for her. That's all we can really do."

State police have taken over the investigation, as is protocol during any officer-involved shooting.

New Haven police have deferred to state police for any comment on the matter. New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman has been on leave since July 25 following behavior Mayor Toni Harp called "unbecoming" of a police chief. Monday, Harp's office announced Esserman was transitioning to "temporary sick leave" and would continue to remain out of the office. Assistant Chief Campbell and Assistant Generoso are in charge in his absence.

Stay with FOX 61 as this story develops.