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Bridgeport Police Chief Backs Officers In Shooting In Stratford

Josephine Cepeda's booking photo from a previous arrest last year Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department
Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez on Monday said he stands firmly behind the Bridgeport police officers in an officer-involved shooting that took place in Stratford Sunday night because they appear to have acted within department guidelines.

A Bridgeport police officer shot a suspect in a stolen car chase that began in Bridgeport and ended on Seymour Street in Stratford on Sunday night, State Police spokesperson Kelly Grant said.

State Police and the local State Attorney John Smriga are investigating the chase, she said.

The suspect, 26-year-old Josephine Cepeda, of Lenox Avenue, was taken to Bridgeport Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

The incident began around 6:40 p.m., when Bridgeport police attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a 2016 Nissan Sentra reported stolen earlier in the day, Grant said.

Cepeda, the driver, refused to stop and engaged the police in a chase into Stratford, where she intentionally struck two police cruisers, police said.

A Bridgeport officer, who has not been named, shot at least one round from his handgun, striking Cepeda, police said.

After a brief struggle, Cepeda was taken into custody, police said. No officers were injured.

Perez said officers are justified in using deadly force if they need to defend themselves or others from deadly physical force.

They are also justified if they need to prevent the escape of a person the officer believes has or has tried to commit a felony involving serious physical injury or the threat of serious physical injury and the officer believes the person still poses an immediate threat, according to department guidelines.

“Using those guidelines, I stand firmly behind the actions of the Bridgeport police officers involved in this incident last night,” Perez said in a written statement.

He said he would have no further comment, pending the outcome of the state investigation.

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