“Why Does It Have To Be Guns?” Asks Family of Man Shot by Police
Family members gathered in Wethersfield, Connecticut on Sunday to protest the shooting of 18-year-old Anthony Jose Vega Cruz. Cruz was shot by police during a traffic stop.
Reports into the investigation noted that the officers stopped the car on Saturday after the license plate did not match the vehicle. Cruz and his girlfriend Stephanie were inside.
Anthony “Chulo” Vega’s family and Wethersfield residents are asking for answers about what happened to their loved one. The people deserve answers from police, prosecutors, and town and state elected officials. #JusticeForChulo pic.twitter.com/eXRvCRgE6e
— ACLU of Connecticut (@acluct) April 22, 2019
Believing the car may be stolen, officers pursued the car, attempting to make a traffic stop. Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran said that there was a collision between the suspect’s vehicle and the cruiser. As one of the officers exited his squad car, Cruz allegedly drove his car at the officer.
At that point, the officer drew and fired his service weapon, striking Cruz in the temple. The passenger was not injured.
Cruz was transported to Hartford Hospital and remained in critical condition for 3 days. He passed away from his injuries on Monday, NBC Connecticut reported.
But now his family is protesting the officer’s actions, saying that it was an excessive use of force against the teen.
Protestors are starting to gather in front of the Wethersfield Police Department demanding answers in response to the officer involved shooting of Anthony Vega Cruz. @FOX61News pic.twitter.com/t490L7OaWp
— Zinnia Maldonado (@ZinniaDee_TV) April 22, 2019
“They got the little strikes they put in the front that pops tires, why not use them, why does it have to be the guns?” Myran Alicia said.
Her statement completely ignores the timing and pace of the incident. Stop sticks are deployed across a roadway during a pursuit, blowing out the tires of a vehicle and bringing it to a stop. They’re not to be casually tossed out while a car is driving directly at someone.
Even if it were possible to have stopped Cruz by puncturing his tires, (which does not work at slow speeds…) there would have been no time to retrieve the tool from the vehicle. The argument is completely invalid.
Cruz’s brother also spoke out. “We’re basically looking for justice, you know what I mean, because my little brother got shot in the head,” Anthony Colon said.
Yet again we see family members refuse to condemn the criminal actions of their relatives with the blame laying on the officers involved.
Anthony Colon lights candles at the vigil for his brother Anthony Jose Vega “Chulo” Cruz, 18, who has died.
Cruz had been on life support since Saturday after being shot by a Wethersfield police officer. pic.twitter.com/MvBr0hCMrA
— Ryan Lindsay (@RLindsayReports) April 23, 2019
Other LEOs stepped up to defend the actions made my Wethersfield Police.
“Our officers have to make split second sections and if they do fear for their safety, then they’ll have to take those measures as far as to protect themselves or others,” said Sgt. Dwight Washington.
Protesters have demanded to see surveillance or body-cam footage of the incident. Wethersfield Officers are not currently equipped with body-cams.
“This was a very serious incident that occurred in our community. The Wethersfield police department has turned the investigation over to the state police for a thorough inquiry,” Wethersfield mayor Amy Morrin Bello said in a statement.