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Police: Bodycams show violent struggle before police shooting; suspect took gun from officer

HARTFORD — An officer-involved shooting has left one suspect dead after police say was a brief, but violent struggle.

The incident occurred just after 9 p.m. Friday night.

Hartford police say shooting happened on the I-84 West ramp on Capitol Avenue in Hartford.

Connecticut State Police have taken over the investigation, as is protocol for officer-involved shootings. The exit 48 on-ramp remained closed, and investigators could be seen processing the scene at Saturday morning, almost twelve hours after the incident.

But at an early morning press conference, Hartford's interim Chief of Police Jason Thody said the incident started as a chase that began near New Park Avenue. Thody said the vehicle did not stop when officers tried to make a traffic stop. The driver attempted to get away from officers, but was initially blocked by traffic. The suspect car then hit another car and kept running away, but was again blocked by traffic backed up because of road construction.

That’s when police say they approached on-foot. When officers arrived, the only passenger in the car exited the vehicle and was taken into custody by police without incident.

But, police say, the driver struggled with officers, and in that brief but violent struggle, one of the officers lost their gun to the suspect driver.

That’s when officers said the suspect was shot and killed.

Thody said "Any loss of life is a tragedy, and we train to avoid using deadly force whenever possible. But some times circumstances leave our officers with no alternative."

At least three police body cameras captured the incident. Mayor Bronin, who joined Thody at the press conference, said he watched the body camera video last night, and has already contacted the state's attorney. "I have personally spoken to the investigating state's attorney, and asked and urged that that video be released as quickly as possible," Bronin said. "I think that it's important that the public see that video as quickly as possible."

Hartford's police force just began the use of body cameras in February, and the distribution and training is not yet complete.

FOX61 learned at least 5 officers were involved in the incident. Some were in plainclothes, but did identify themselves during the incident, according to officials.

We are working to learn more about the suspect who was killed. The passenger was released from police custody.

You can expect more from FOX61 as this story develops.

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