CSAO: Report of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of New London Concerning the Death of Christopher T. Anderson on August 14, 2015, in the Town of Bolton

Report of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of New London Concerning the Death of Christopher T. Anderson on August 14, 2015, in the Town of Bolton

On August 14, 2015, Section 51-277a of the General Statutes provided that, whenever a peace officer in the performance of his or her duties, uses deadly physical force upon another person and such person dies as a result thereof, the Division of Criminal Justice shall cause an investigation to be made and shall determine whether the use of deadly physical force was appropriate under Section 53a-22 of the General Statutes.

The State’s Attorney is aware that Section 51-277a was repealed by the General Assembly and replaced by Public Act 15-4, June Special Session, §§4 and 5 and subsequently signed into law by the Governor. The substituted language took effect on October 1, 2015. The relevant language of Public Act 15-4 requires the Division of Criminal Justice to conduct an investigation when physical force is used by a peace officer upon another person and such person as a result thereof, and further requires that a prosecutorial official from a judicial district other than the judicial district in which the incident occurred be designated to conduct the investigation.

Prior to the adoption of Public Act 15-4, at a meeting of the State’s Attorneys in March of 2015, the following policy was unanimously adopted:

It is the policy of the Division of Criminal Justice that police departments shall immediately notify the State’s Attorney of the judicial district in which any death that occurs to a person in police custody or that appears to have resulted from the actions of a police officer.

It is further the policy of the Division of Criminal Justice that the Division will investigate any death that is determined to have been caused by a police officer’s use of force. In such case, the State’s Attorney’s Office in the judicial district in which the death occurred may respond to the scene and may provide immediate assistance to the investigating agency. Within a reasonable time thereafter, however, the Chief State’s Attorney shall assign a State’s Attorney from a judicial district other than the one in which the death occurred to supervise the investigation and to determine whether criminal charges shall be pursued.

Pursuant to this policy, on August 14, 2015, the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office referred this matter to the State’s Attorney’s Office for the Judicial District of New London for an investigation and an issuance of a report regarding the death of Christopher T. Anderson in the Town of Bolton on August 14, 2015. Once notified Supervisory Inspector Philip Fazzino and Inspector Thomas Pedersen immediately responded to the scene. The Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad (EDMCS) was contacted and requested to conduct the investigation in conjunction with this office. Case Officer Detective Ryan Luther submitted the completed investigatory casebook, which this writer has adopted and incorporated into his report.

It is the conclusion of the undersigned that the use of deadly force was appropriate.

SUMMARY

On Friday, August 14, 2015, at approximately 3:24 p.m., Christopher T. Anderson, date of birth, August 13, 1961, entered the First Niagara Bank located at 481 Buckland Road in South Windsor, CT. He handed a bank teller a threatening note demanding money. The bank teller gave Anderson a large amount of money and Anderson left the bank. The bank teller alerted her alarm and a second bank employee notified the South Windsor Police Department by calling 9-1-1. Anderson quickly exited the bank and entered into the driver’s seat of his grey/silver Toyota Matrix, bearing Connecticut Registration 7AP-BJ9 located in the CVS parking lot adjacent to the bank. At approximately 3:25 p.m., the South Windsor Police Department received the 9-1-1 call from the First Niagara Bank reporting the robbery. The robbery suspect, Anderson, was described as a white male in his 50’s, wearing a grey colored ball cap and carrying a grey colored bag. The South Windsor Police Department dispatched officers to the bank, and issued a BOLO (Be On The Lookout), via radio broadcast to local police departments and the Connecticut State Police with a description of Anderson and his vehicle.

Officer Benjamin White of the South Windsor Police Department was in the area of the First Niagara Bank at the time of the dispatch. He observed an individual matching Anderson’s description entering a vehicle in the CVS parking lot. Officer White approached Anderson and ordered him to step out of the vehicle. Anderson refused to comply and exited the parking lot onto Buckland Road driving south. Officer White activated his emergency lights and siren on his marked cruiser and pursued Anderson. Anderson refused to stop his vehicle and engaged Officer White in a pursuit. The pursuit began in South Windsor and continued into Manchester on Buckland Street where Manchester police officers joined the pursuit. The pursuit continued into the town of Bolton at which point Bolton Resident State Trooper Brian Contenta joined the pursuit.

Anderson’s vehicle exited Interstate 384 eastbound at the Route 44 east and Route 6 east junction, where he was unable to negotiate a curve in the roadway and traveled off of the roadway and into a grass/dirt gore area. All four tires of Anderson’s vehicle became damaged and deflated at this time. Anderson remained seated inside the driver’s seat and ignored verbal commands of law enforcement personnel to exit his vehicle.

Anderson then began to drive east onto Route 44 with law enforcement personnel in pursuit. Anderson soon came to a stop a short distance away in the roadway on Route 44 eastbound just prior to the intersection of Quarry Road. He exited his vehicle holding a utility type razor knife in his right hand and faced the police officers.

Pursuing officers exited their cruisers and drew their duty weapons towards Anderson. Trooper Contenta heard Anderson say, “Shoot me, Shoot me.” Officer Jason Wagner of the Manchester Police Department drew his duty Taser. Trooper Contenta and other officers gave Anderson numerous verbal commands to drop his weapon and to get on the ground. Anderson ignored their commands. Officer Wagner discharged his department issued Taser striking Anderson in the torso. The Taser appeared to have no effect. Anderson pulled at least one of the Taser prongs out of his chest. He advanced towards the officers holding the utility knife in his hand. As Anderson advanced towards the officers, Trooper Contenta and Officer Layau Eulizier of the Manchester Police Department discharged their assigned duty weapons at Anderson, striking him four times. Anderson fell to the ground and was secured with handcuffs. He was given first aid by the officers at the scene. Emergency medical services were alerted and responded to the scene. Anderson was transported to Hartford Hospital. At Hartford Hospital, Anderson underwent multiple surgeries and treatment for the gunshot wounds and remained in critical condition.

On Friday, August 14, at approximately 4:00 p.m., the New London State’s Attorney’s Office requested that the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad (EDMCS) investigate this police involved use of force incident.

EDMCS detectives responded to process the shooting scene. The scene was documented and processed, numerous items of evidence were collected. Members of the Connecticut State Police Troop K Colchester Barracks Criminal Investigations Unit and the Collision Analysis & Reconstruction Squad assisted EDMCS detectives with processing the scene.

The South Windsor Police Department oversaw the bank robbery investigation and processed the scene at the First Niagara Bank in South Windsor, CT. with the assistance of officers from the Manchester Police Department.

Anderson underwent several surgeries while at Hartford Hospital between his admission on Friday, August 14, 2015, and Sunday, August 16, 2015, and remained in critical condition. During the course of Anderson’s treatment at Hartford Hospital, two projectiles were removed from his body. The two projectiles were seized as evidence and turned over to EDMCS detectives. On Sunday, August 16, 2015, at approximately 7:17 p.m., Anderson was removed from life support and pronounced dead at Hartford Hospital.

On Monday, August 17, 2015, at approximately 12:00 p.m., an autopsy was performed on Anderson by Dr. Angela McGuire M.D. at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

AUTOPSY REPORT

Dr. McGuire’s final autopsy report was completed on November 12, 2015. The report concluded that the cause of death was complications of gunshot wounds of the torso and the manner of death as homicide (shot by the police). Dr. McGuire’s final diagnosis found four perforating and penetrating gunshot wounds to the right arm and torso. The two bullets entering the right arm exited the arm and re-entered the abdominal area. Two bullets and a bullet fragment were removed and seized as evidence.

EVIDENCE COLLECTED FROM SCENE

Five .45 caliber spent shell casings were located and seized at the scene of the shooting. A black Taser cartridge with wires attached was located on the right shoulder of the Route 44 east ramp. A silver colored “Stanley 99E” brand utility razor knife with the razor exposed/extended was located on the ground in the area behind Anderson’s vehicle. A copper and grey colored projectile was located on top of a medical wrapper on the ground behind Anderson’s vehicle on the Route 44 east ramp. There was a copper colored projectile jacketing located on the ground behind Anderson’s vehicle. A blue colored cloth wallet that contained a Connecticut driver’s license among other cards and miscellaneous personal papers in the name of Christopher Anderson was located on the ground next to a pair of denim jeans. Other Taser components were located on the ground and on top of Anderson’s vehicle.

OFFICER WHITE’S CRUISER VIDEO

EDMCS detectives reviewed the video from Officer White’s cruiser video. Officer White’s cruiser video showed a white male, Christopher Anderson, jogging and walking from the area of the First Niagara Bank to the adjacent parking lot of CVS. He entered into the driver’s seat of a small grey/silver colored vehicle that was backed into a parking space in the CVS parking lot. Anderson was the only occupant of the vehicle. He drove out of the parking lot and turned right onto Buckland Road. Anderson engaged Officer White in a motor vehicle pursuit. Officer White can be heard on the video transmitting information regarding the pursuit. The siren from Officer White’s cruiser can be heard on the video. The pursuit continued into the Town of Manchester, where several marked Manchester cruisers join in the pursuit. The pursuit continued through Manchester and entered into Bolton on Route 44, where Trooper Contenta’s cruiser is observed in the parking lot of a gas station. The pursuit continued onto Interstate 384 eastbound where Anderson’s vehicle is observed travelling off of the roadway into the grass/dirt gore area at the Route 44 east and Route 6 east junction. A Manchester cruiser is observed to make contact with the left side of Anderson’s vehicle. Police are observed surrounding Anderson’s vehicle with their weapons drawn. The tires on the right side of Anderson’s vehicle appear to be deflated. Anderson’s vehicle continued to drive from the grass/dirt gore area east onto Route 44, eventually coming to a stop a short distance away on Route 44 eastbound just prior to the intersection of Quarry Road. Anderson is observed outside of his vehicle facing towards multiple law enforcement personnel. Several Officers including Trooper Contenta and Officer Eulizier are observed with their weapons drawn towards Anderson. Officer Wagner has his Taser drawn towards the Anderson. Multiple gunshots are then heard and Anderson falls to the ground.

TROOPER CONTENTA’S CRUISER VIDEO

EDMCS detectives reviewed Trooper Contenta’s cruiser video. The video depicts Trooper Contenta parked stationary on Route 44 at the recorded time of 15:33:47, when Anderson’s vehicle passed Trooper Contenta heading east on Route 44 at a high rate of speed. Anderson’s vehicle was being pursued by multiple marked police vehicles with their emergency lights activated. Anderson was observed driving off into the gore area at the Interstate 384, Route 44 and Route 6 east junction. He drove away from the gore area at 15:35:28. Anderson stopped and exited his vehicle on the Route 44 east while holding a utility razor knife in his right hand and facing towards the officers at 15:35:44. Anderson appears to be speaking to the officer. He moved his arms and hands towards his chest when he was struck by the Taser. Anderson advanced towards the officers while still holding the utility knife in his right hand. He was then shot by Trooper Contenta and Officer Eulizier at 15:35:54.

FIREARM SURVEY

On Friday, August 15, 2015, while at the scene a firearm survey was conducted by EDMCS detectives of all law enforcement personnel present at the scene. The firearm survey revealed that Trooper Contenta and Officer Eulizier were the only two law enforcement members to have discharged their duty weapons. A total of four rounds were fired from Trooper Contenta’s department issued Sig Sauer P220 .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, loaded with “Federal .45 Auto” rounds. A total of one round was fired from Officer Eulizier’s department issued Glock .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, loaded with “Winchester .45 Auto” rounds.

RESULTS OF BALLISTICS EXAMINATION

EDMCS detectives submitted to the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory the spent shell casings recovered from the scene of the shooting, the projectile recovered from the scene of the shooting and the four projectiles removed from the body of Christopher Anderson for comparison to Trooper Contenta’s duty weapon, a Sig Sauer P220, and Officer Eulizier’s duty weapon, a Glock 21. The results of the examination determined that the four projectiles removed from Anderson were fired by Trooper Contenta’s duty weapon and that the projectile recovered at the scene was fired from Officer Eulizier’s duty weapon.

ANDERSON’S VEHICLE

On Wednesday, August 19, 2015, EDMCS Detectives processed Anderson’s vehicle at the Troop K Barracks in Colchester, CT. The vehicle was a 2004 grey colored Toyota Corolla/Matrix 4 door bearing Connecticut Registration 7AP-BJ9. The vehicle’s registered owner was listed as Christopher Anderson. Anderson’s vehicle was documented by digital images and an inventory of its contents. Items of evidence were located, seized, packaged and stored in the evidence room at Troop K in Colchester, CT.

Relevant items seized from Anderson’s vehicle included one grey colored baseball cap with a blue brim and wording on it that read “Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry since 1655,” that matched the hat worn by Anderson during the bank robbery; one grey and black colored “Targus” brand bag matching the bag Anderson was seen exiting the bank, five bank withdrawal slips and three bank savings deposit slips, all with “First Niagara Bank” printed on them and $2,650.00 in currency.

TASER DOWNLOAD RESULTS

The Taser download report from the "Taser X26," serial number-X00-526148 discharged by Officer Jason Wagner of the Manchester Police Department, showed that the Taser was discharged for five seconds on August 14, 2015, at 15:41:07. The report also showed a consecutive one second discharge, one second later at 15:41:08.

TROOPER CONTENTA’S WRITTEN STATEMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 1, 2015:

“My name is Brian Contenta (DOB: 12/2/1979) and I am a sworn member of the Connecticut State Police and have been since May 7th, 2010. I am currently assigned to the Bolton Resident Trooper Office out of Troop K. Prior to being employed with the Connecticut State Police, I was a full time police officer in Hartford Connecticut and Lenox Massachusetts for a total of 7 years. On August 14th, 2015, I was working my scheduled evening shift that runs from 1430-2400 hours. My patrol duties included calls for service and proactive patrol. On this day, I was wearing my State Police class B summer uniform. I had my department issued weapon, Sig Sauer P220 .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol and it was fully loaded with department issued Federal ammunition. My department issued weapon was loaded with one round in the chamber, and a magazine fully loaded with eight rounds. I had three spare magazines on my duty belt, fully loaded with eight rounds in each. I had a total of 33 rounds with me on duty that day.

At approx. 1530 hours, I was sitting stationary on Route 44 in the Gulf gas station/car wash parking lot observing east and west bound traffic. I then received a transmission from Troop K dispatch to be on a look out for an armed robbery out of Manchester. I presumed that more information would be forthcoming and I remained attentive in case something occurred within my patrol area. However, there were not any further details given. Approx. 30 seconds later, I observed a compact silver sedan traveling East on Route 44 at a much greater speed than posted 40mph. Behind the silver sedan were 4 Manchester police cruisers with their lights and sirens activated. Based on the timing and Manchester PD cruisers in pursuit, I had reason to believe they were chasing the armed robbery suspect. I activated my lights and siren and pulled out on to Route 44 and followed the police cruisers. We continued to pursue the silver vehicle East on Route 44 and then merged on to [I]-384 East bound.

As we approached the Route 6 and Route 44 off ramps on [I]-384, the silver vehicle appeared to have lost control and crashed in to the gore area coming to a complete stop. I observed the police cruisers in front of me to stop behind the silver sedan, exit their cruisers and give verbal commands to the white male operator to get out of the vehicle. I pulled my cruiser to the left of the silver sedan, exited my cruiser and stood on top of a Manchester Police Cruiser for a tactical advantage and a better line of sight. As we were giving verbal commands to the suspect to get out of the car, he failed to comply and appeared to be yelling something. At this time, the operator began making physical universal movements implying that he had a gun. He took both his hands and buried them in his crotch area while rolling his shoulders forward leading me to believe he was carrying a weapon. As I observed these movements, I verbally informed the other police officers that he was acting like he had a weapon. As I was passing on this information, the suspect quickly turned his upper body and pointed his right closed fist directly at me exactly as if he was holding a gun. Due to the suspect’s threatening movement, I quickly moved out of his view sliding off the cruiser and behind the suspect’s car for better cover.

The suspect then drove off and got back on the roadway East bound on Route 44. I returned to my cruiser got back in and pursued the silver sedan. We traveled approx. 300 feet and the silver sedan stopped in middle of the roadway of Route 44. This location of Route 44 was a combination of a residential and commercial area. I pulled my cruiser behind the silver sedan on the left side. I positioned my cruiser within approximately 6-10 feet from the suspect’s vehicle. As I was exiting my cruiser, the white male suspect started to exit his vehicle. As he got out of his vehicle, my field of view was clear and I immediately observed a silver box cutter in his right hand. I observed the blade was upwards and towards me and the other officers. I also observed a large amount of cash inside the silver vehicle, on the driver’s side floor area. He was standing well within 10’ or less from me and the other Manchester Officers. I, and other officers, gave the white male numerous verbal commands that he did not comply with. The white male, in a low gravelly voice, uttered, “shoot me, shoot me” and headed towards my direction, again with the box cutter open and displayed. His behavior was erratic and very threatening. He was only a few feet away and I was greatly concerned for my life as well as the lives of the officers around me. I continued to believe that he might have other weapons. As other police officers and I continued to give verbal commands, a police officer standing to my right discharged his Taser striking the suspect in the chest. The Taser was not effective on the suspect who then ripped the Taser wires out of his chest and threw the wires on the ground. The suspect continued to make movements with his hands, including reaching towards his waistline, acting as if he were going to pull out a gun. The suspect then quickly lunged and advanced towards me and the officers to my right, while still holding the box cutter in a threatening manner, with the blade extended in his right hand. Given the great threat to my life and the lives of the other officers, I fired my department issued weapon. I believed that I fired twice, but later realized that I fired 4 rounds and I know that a Manchester officer also fired his weapon. Immediately thereafter, I holstered my weapon and advised the troop that shots had been fired and that EMS services were needed immediately. I then observed numerous local Police Officers begin to render first aid to the operator of the vehicle. It was obvious to me that he had been shot and was injured. When Sgt. Luke arrived, I handed my duty belt and weapon to him and then I went to Manchester Hospital for evaluation.”

OFFICER EULIZIER’S REPORT DATED AUGUST 25, 2015:

“On August 14, 2015 at approximately 1520 hours, I was at the Manchester Police Department when I heard Manchester Police Dispatchers send two units to the area of Buckland St. for a reported armed robbery suspect engaging South Windsor Police in a pursuit.

I heard over the radio that the armed robbery suspect was heading eastbound on East Middle Turnpike towards the Manchester Police Department. Officer Wagner and I ran to our cruiser, bearing CT Reg. 200MA (Car #10) and exited the Manchester Police Department heading westbound on East Middle Turnpike. I was seated in the front passenger seat. Before we reached Brookfield St., I observed a silver Toyota speed past our cruiser heading eastbound traveling at a high rate of speed. Ofc. Wagner pulled our cruiser over to the side of the road so we wouldn’t get struck by the suspect vehicle. I observed approximately 5 or 6 Police cruisers with their lights and sirens activated behind the suspect vehicle. Officer Wagner and I turned around and followed behind the cruisers.

Ofc. Wagner and I had just got onto I-384 East in Bolton when I heard a Manchester Police Officer broadcast that the suspect crashed his vehicle by the Route 44 and Route 6 split in Bolton. As we approached the scene, I observed a State Trooper on top of a police cruiser. I then observed the suspects’ vehicle start to move back onto Route 44. At this point, the cruiser that Officer Wagner and I were in was the first cruiser in line behind the suspect vehicle. The suspect’s vehicle then suddenly stopped on the right side of the roadway. I exited the vehicle, drew my Department issued firearm, Glock 21:PFR606, and yelled, “Get out of the vehicle” and “show me your hands” “Show me your hands.” I observed the suspect then tensed up, clenching his left hand in a fist and holding the silver object of what appeared to be a box cutter, in his right hand. The suspect did not listen to the commands I gave him. The suspect took what I believe was 2-3 small steps forward. At this point an Officer deployed his Taser. I could not see when Officer deployed the Taser because I was fixated on the suspect and his movements. The suspect grabbed the Taser prongs and ripped them off of his body. The Taser didn’t appear to have any effect on the suspect. It appeared that the suspect became more agitated. I observed the suspect step forward in a manner as if he was going to run towards the Officers to my left. I fired one round from my department issued firearm at the suspect in an attempt to stop him from seriously injuring the Officers to my left. I believed the suspect posed a threat to the Officers he was going towards with a weapon and fired my department issued firearm to defend the other Officers from the suspect. Another Police Officer also fired at the suspect. The suspect then dropped to the ground. The suspect was placed into handcuffs and attended to by other Officers. Myself and other Officers did a sweep of the suspect’s vehicle to ensure it was clear and no other suspects were inside the vehicle. I observed multiple U.S. currency on the driver seat, floor, and center console. I then ran to my cruiser and grabbed a first aid kit. I opened multiple packets containing medical gauze and applied pressure to the suspect’s wounds. While applying pressure, I assisted with the administration of oxygen to the suspect. At one point the suspect started to close his eyes. With the oxygen mask over his mouth and nose, I told the suspect, “If you can hear me, open your eyes.” The suspect then opened his eyes slightly. I tried talking to the suspect to make sure he would not lose consciousness. I started to become emotionally exhausted and requested another officer to take my place. Sgt. Foran took and secured [my] firearm as evidence and he gave me his department issued firearm.

Ofc. Krawec, Ofc. Matthies, and Ofc. Hallums drove me to the Manchester Hospital for evaluation. I then was brought to Manchester Police Department. The Connecticut State Police Major Crime Squad then took pictures of me and seized my uniform of the day as evidence along with my boots, bullet proof vest and duty belt. Nothing further to report at this time.”

WITNESS INTERVIEWS

Detectives interviewed and obtained a written statement from Jack Campise who was in the area at the time of the police involved shooting. Campise stated in a signed written statement, among other things, that he works at CHA Insurance which is located on Route 44 in Bolton, CT. Campise stated that on the afternoon of August 14, 2015, he was in his office when he heard sirens coming from the intersection of Routes 44 and [I]-384. He heard someone yelling very loudly, "Get on the ground" about 7-8 times. Campise stated he got up from his desk and walked toward the window and looked out. He saw police vehicles and a small grey car in the intersection. He heard four loud bangs that he thought were gun shots and dropped to the floor for safety. Campise did not see who had done the shooting or who had been shot. Campise’s office is about 100 feet from the intersection where the shooting occurred.

Detectives interviewed and obtained a written statement from Colby Gullakson. Gullakson stated in a signed written statement, among other things, that he was working at the True Value Hardware Store located on Route 44 in Bolton, CT. At approximately 3:30 PM, he was up at the front of the store when he heard sirens and observed police cars around a small grey car. Gullakson heard the police yelling, "Get out of the car" a few times and then, "Get on the ground" a few times. He was about 150 feet from the intersection. He had his cell phone and started to record what was going on from inside the store. Gullakson heard a police Taser going off and then after about 5-10 seconds he heard 5 or 6 gun shots. He did not see who was shooting or who had been shot. He saw one person on the ground behind the grey car and saw police move around the person and to give him aid.

Other witnesses present in the area of the shooting scene were interviewed by detectives and related similar information regarding their observations.

Detectives met with Christopher Anderson’s sisters, Rosemary Johnson and Cheryl Paine, and obtained written statements. According to Anderson’s sisters, Christopher used to have cocaine, alcohol, and gambling addictions. The sister’s stated that as recently as two weeks ago Christopher has been using heroin, according to his roommate, John Arnold. Anderson had been arrested for multiple bank robberies in Connecticut in the past. The sisters stated that following a bank robbery in 2006, Christopher was shot by the police, during a standoff at his house in New Haven, CT. Rosemary stated that she had a conversation with Christopher in 2013, in which Christopher told her that after being shot by the police in 2006 he wished that he had never woken up. Rosemary stated that Christopher told her in 2006 that he wanted to die by “Suicide by Cop.” Rosemary stated that Anderson had major financial problems and owed money to the State of Connecticut for child support and restitution from his 2006 arrests for the bank robberies.

Anderson’s roommate, John Arnold, was interviewed by detectives. He told the detective that on August 14, 2015, at about 7:10 a.m., he left for work around his usual time and Anderson was still in the room drinking coffee and watching the news. Arnold said that Anderson mentioned to him that he was going to work that day but Arnold left the room before Anderson, so he did not know if Anderson actually went to work. Arnold said when he got home from work around 6:00 p.m., Anderson was not home yet. According to Arnold, at about 8:00 p.m., he noticed a bloody rag, syringe, and a glass tube on Anderson’s dresser and he became concerned. Arnold said that he knew Anderson was on probation for a bank robbery and was using heroin at that time, but thought Anderson was clean now. Arnold stated that Anderson had been depressed recently because of finances, child support and restitution for the bank robbery. Arnold said Anderson feared going to prison for not paying the restitution and child support. He said that on Friday, August 14, 2015, Anderson appeared withdrawn and more depressed. Arnold added that Anderson never spoke of suicide or wanting to have the police shoot him. Arnold was aware that during a bank robbery Anderson had been shot by the police in New Haven. He said Anderson had a deep anger for the police after being arrested for the New Haven bank robbery.

ANDERSON’S CRIMINAL HISTORY

The investigator’s confirmed that on October 4, 2006, at approximately 3:47 p.m. there was a bank robbery at the Bank of Southern Connecticut located at 1475 Whalley Avenue in New Haven, CT. It was reported that Christopher Anderson approached a bank employee while displaying a handgun and demanded that she give him all of the $100, and $50 dollar bills. The teller handed Anderson $15,799.10 and he fled the bank on foot. After the robbery, Anderson was discovered inside a 2nd floor residence at 74 Fowler Street in New Haven, CT. A New Haven special emergency response team was requested and responded to 74 Fowler Street. At 74 Fowler Street, Anderson sustained a gunshot wound, reportedly from police, and was transported to the Yale-New Haven Hospital.

During the course of this investigation it was learned that Christopher Anderson was a suspect in a previous bank robbery that had occurred on August 6, 2015, at approximately 4:50 p.m. at the First Niagara Bank located at 55 South Main Street in West Hartford, CT. In that robbery, the suspect identified as Anderson entered the bank, handed a bank teller a note, threatened to shoot the teller in the head, and demanded money.

APPLICABLE LAW

Section 53a-22 (c) of the General Statutes permits a police officer to use deadly physical force upon another person when he reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force. The test to determine reasonableness is both subjective and objective. First, the officer must believe that the use of deadly force is necessary to defend himself or another from the imminent use of deadly force. Second, the belief must be objectively reasonable. See State v. Smith, 73 Conn. App. 173, cert. denied, 262 Conn. 923 (2002). The burden is on the state to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of self-defense as set forth in §53a-22. Id., 185-86.

The test is not whether it was in fact necessary for the officer to use deadly physical force in order to defend against the imminent use of deadly physical force. The test is whether the officer believed it was necessary to use deadly physical force and whether such belief was objectively reasonable, based on the facts and circumstances known to the police officer at the time the decision to use deadly force was made. See State v. Silveira, 198 Conn. 454 (1986); State v. Adams, 52 Conn. App. 643 (1999). The United States Supreme Court has explained this test in a civil rights case. “The ‘reasonableness’ of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on scene rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight… The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance of the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving – about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.” Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989). The appropriate inquiry is whether the offers acted reasonably, not whether they had less intrusive alternatives available to them. Scott v. Henrich, 39 F.3d. 912, 915 (9th Cir. 1992).

CONCLUSION

Based upon the preceding facts and circumstances and the applicable law found in Connecticut General Statutes §53a-22, the undersigned finds that Trooper Brian Contenta and Officer Layau Eulizier reasonably believed that the use of deadly physical force was necessary to defend themselves and others from the imminent use of deadly force by Christopher T. Anderson. Anderson failed to comply with law enforcement officers’ lawful commands to drop his weapon and to get on the ground and advanced in an aggressive and threatening manner towards the officers, even after being struck by a Taser. After the failure of the Taser to slow Anderson, Trooper Contenta and Officer Eulizer reasonably believed they had no other alternative but to use deadly force. The use of deadly force was, therefore, appropriate.

I would like to thank the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad for their role in this investigation. In addition, I would like to thank the South Windsor and Manchester police departments for their assistance and cooperation.

No further action is to be taken by the Division of Criminal Justice as a result of this incident.

Dated at New London, Connecticut this 7th day of December, 2016.

MICHAEL L. REGAN

STATE’S ATTORNEY

NEW LONDON JUDICIAL DISTRICT



Content Last Modified on 12/12/2016 2:45:00 PM