The Mayor demanded police release the body cam video of a suspect killed after taking an officer’s gun. They did… and we should warn you – it may be viewed as being “graphic” but some.
Last week, Law Enforcement Today brought you breaking news of an officer involved fatal shooting in Hartford, Connecticut.
Today, body camera footage has been released showing the final moments that 41-year old Alphonso Zaporta did the unthinkable- grabbed the responding officer’s gun.
Hartford Police officers attempted to pull over Zaporta on a Hartford side street on Friday night. Zaporta fled the attempts of police and managed to maneuver onto I-84 westbound but drove into a construction site.
A press release from the Tolland State’s Attorney’s office also reveals that “stop sticks” were implemented. The pursuing officers approached Zaporta’s disabled vehicle on foot.
The only passenger in the vehicle surrendered readily to police but Zaporta was not going to be taken easily.
The incredible body cam footage captured from three of the five responding officers shows a nightmare unfold as Zaporta struggles with one of the officers and seizes his service weapon.
The Tolland State’s Attorney’s Office says:
“The driver of the vehicle engaged in a struggle with officers. During the struggle, the driver gained control of one of the officer’s department-issued firearm. Another Hartford Police detective then fired multiple rounds at the driver. The shots were fatal.”
The dramatic footage shows that Zaporta is warned as an officer shouts “You’re going to get shot, bro”.
Detective Zack Sherry then made a necessary decision firing three shots into Zaporta, preventing possible tragedy for the officers as well as the community.
The video footage shows an officer picking up the service weapon from the asphalt after Zaporta’s body lay motionless on the ground.
In a press conference this evening, Mayor Luke Bronin joined with Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody to provide further details of the dramatic shooting.
Mayor Luke Bronin praised the expedited release of the video footage by the State’s Attorney’s Office saying “we think the public has the right to see what happened on Friday night.”
The entire night’s events stems from a greater investigation Police Chief Thody explains. He says:
“It was more than just a traffic stop. It was part of an investigation into gun related activity that happened earlier in the month.”
A 9mm handgun loaded with 16 rounds was found in Zaporta’s vehicle. The gun is believed to have been stolen in Massachusetts. Connecticut and Massachusetts laws both restrict firearm capacity to only 10 rounds unless they meet exemptions or registrations.
In an official press release, the State’s Attorney extended his condolences to Mr. Zaporta’s family. However, Zaporta’s family remains in disbelief.
“None of this is making sense” Olivia Richard, Zaporta’s mother said to NBC Connecticut.
Zaporta has an extensive criminal history, according to a WFSB news team. Zaporta’s recent charges included assault, illegal possession of a firearm, interfering with an officer and/or resisting arrest and burglary.
Hartford Police Union Sargeant John Szewczyk released a statement supporting Detective Sherry, a 14 year veteran of the force, saying:
“The incident involved a highly respected detective with an impeccable record of service. At this point, all the information available shows his actions were justified.”
Detective Sherry works the Vice/Intelligence/Narcotics Division as well as the States Marshal’s Violent Fugitive Task Force, according the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Officer Police Chief Thody explains that Officer Last and Detective Sherry are on a mandatory two week administrative leave but it is not punitive. He clarifies to the press:
“It’s not a matter of a forced leave. It’s a matter of providing officers opportunities to make sure they’re okay before they come back.”
Law Enforcement Today salutes all of the responding officers for their unrelenting pursuit of Zaporta and keeping the Hartford community safe from stolen guns in the hands of a felon.