ROCKY HILL -- The Chief State's Attorney released a report Monday on the shooting death of Montville man who attacked two police officers at a motel in January 2017 and said the officer who fired the shot was justified in using deadly force.
On January 27, 2017, state police dispatched two Montville constables to the Chesterfield Lodge on Route 85 in the Oakdale section of town. Employees said there was an unwanted person on the property.
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According to police, Officer Gregg Jacobson and Officer Robin Salvatore asked Val Thomas, 53, of Norwich to leave as he had not paid his bill.
The report described what happened next:
According to Officer Jacobson, Mr. Thomas turned to go back into the room, but then turned towards Officer Salvatore and lunged at her, grabbing her Taser from her duty belt. Both officers then attempted to get out of range of the Taser. Mr. Thomas turned towards Officer Jacobson who backed up. Mr. Thomas began firing the Taser towards a retreating Officer Jacobson. As he moved in the direction of the cruisers, Officer Jacobson tried to call Troop E Barracks for backup on his portable radio.
After firing the Taser towards Officer Jacobson, Mr. Thomas returned towards his room and then turned to his left and chased after Officer Salvatore. When Mr. Thomas initially stole her Taser, Officer Salvatore had retreated to her right down the sidewalk along the building, and then she turned her back to the building and ran into the parking lot. Officer Salvatore could not determine if Mr. Thomas reloaded her Taser. She turned her back towards the building while pulling her weapon only to find Mr. Thomas quickly closed the gap between them in the parking lot. Officer Salvatore turned facing him and was backing up. According to Officer Salvatore, she told him to put the Taser down, but Mr. Thomas responded coming at her saying, "I’m going to kill you, you f_____g cop." Mr. Thomas swung at her with the Taser striking her on the head several times, changing hands as he did so. At some point Officer Salvatore saw Mr. Thomas point the Taser at her with the electrical charge activated. Officer Salvatore believed Mr. Thomas was trying to "Drive Stun" her with the Taser which could have left her incapacitated and defenseless. Mr. Thomas again struck Officer Salvatore in the head with such force that blood ran down her face into her eye. Believing Mr. Thomas was trying to kill her, as he had threatened, Officer Salvatore then fired one round from her service weapon, striking Mr. Thomas in the abdomen. He then fell to the ground.
Thomas was handcuffed on the ground and continued to yell at the officers and rolled from sided to side. He lost consiousness in the ambulance while being taken to Backus Hospital in Norwich where he was pronounced dead.
The officer was taken to L&M Hospital where they received staples in her head to close their wounds.
The report said Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Susan Williams performed an autopsy on Thomas that found the cause of Thomas’ death to be a gunshot wound of his abdomen/pelvis and the manner of his death to be a homicide. According to the toxicology report, no alcohol or drugs were detected in Thomas’ system.
The State’s Attorney found Salvatore was justified in using deadly physical force upon another person. "Since Thomas repeatedly struck her in the head with a blunt object that could have caused death or serious physical injury and stated that he intended to kill her, Officer Salvatore was justified in the use of deadly physical force."