BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy expressed sadness about the death of a teenager who was shot by a Bridgeport police officer during an alleged car theft and explained why the State Police is investigating the case.
“When the use of force by law enforcement officers results in the loss of life, justice is best served when the incident is reviewed by objective and independent entities," Malloy said in a statement.
"That is why in 2015, I signed a bill into law aimed at increasing accountability and transparency by expanding the reporting and investigation requirements in such instances," he said.
"It is appropriate that Office of the State’s Attorney and the Connecticut State Police have assumed their respective responsibilities in the review of the shooting that occurred [Tuesday] night in Bridgeport. The State of Connecticut is committed to ensuring an open and independent investigation to determine the facts of this case."
At a press conference Wednesday, Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez said the officers were acting in self-defense.
The teenager who died has not been identified by state police.
“A young man lost his life [Tuesday] night and I am deeply saddened by this reality," Malloy said. "I am sensitive to the concerns of all those impacted by this incident and ask for patience from members of the community as the independent reviews are being conducted.”
Perez said the incident began when undercover units on Park Avenue noticed the stolen vehicle and called for backup. They got behind it as it pulled the wrong way onto one-way Fairfield Avenue and into the Walgreens lot, striking several vehicles, State Police said.
The car then sped onto Fairfield Avenue, Perez said.
Police boxed in the car, and two officers got out to try to get the vehicle’s driver and passenger out, he said.
As the officers approached the car, the driver accelerated in reverse and struck at least one Bridgeport police officer, State Police said.
In the scuffle, one officer was nearly pulled under the vehicle, Perez said.
Fearing for his or her life, one of the officers fired at least one round, striking both the driver and passenger, he said.
Witnesses and anyone with any information are asked to text TIP711 and any information to 274637. All texts will remain confidential.
The legislation Malloy signed in 2015 is Public Act 15-4, An Act Concerning Excessive Use of Force .