WFSB - Eyewitness News

Police release identifies of Wethersfield officers involved in deadly shootingWETHERSFIELD, CT (WFSB) -- A deadly officer-involved shooting that happened over the weekend in Wethersfield remains under investigation. On Wednesday, police identified the name of the officer who fired his weapon as Officer Layau Eulizier Jr. Wethersfield police said Officer Peter Salvatore was present at the time of the shooting, but did not discharge his firearm. Last Saturday, police tried to stop a car on the Silas Deane Highway that didn’t have license plates matching the vehicle. They thought it may have been stolen. The car was being driven by 18-year-old Anthony Jose Vega Cruz. Police said Vega Cruz crashed into a cruiser and then drove at Eulizier. That’s when the officer started shooting. Cruz was shot and <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/teen-injured-in-wethersfield-officer-involved-shooting-died-police-said/article_81075e12-64e9-11e9-b370-4fb79061608f.html" target="_blank">later died on Monday</a>. Eyewitness News learned Eulizier was involved in another deadly shooting in 2015. According to Wethersfield police, neither officer has has any disciplinary history with the department. According to a report from the state’s attorney office, he fired his gun, along with a trooper, at a robbery suspect. He was working as a Manchester police officer at the time. After an investigation, the state’s attorney’s office found that shooting was justified. On Monday, <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/questions-remain-after-teen-s-officer-involved-shooting-death/article_40ff4882-65ae-11e9-a41e-af68c12d1f37.html" target="_blank">protestors held a rally outside the Wethersfield Police Dept.</a>, looking for answers as to what happened during the incident. Activist Cornell Lewis organized another protest for Cruz to be held on Thursday. “We are going to disrupt the social fabric of their society,” Lewis said. “In plain language we are going to make it uncomfortable for the town of Wethersfield and we want them to feel the same kind of pain that we feel as people of color every time police shoot us down.” He said they want answers as to what happened. "We going to go back and further ask police for answers. What we also want the town of Wethersfield to know and let the police know what we are not completely satisfied with the young man who was shot," Lewis said. The protest will be held at the Wethersfield Police Dept. on Thursday at 5 p.m. State police have now taken over the investigation. Both officers who were involved are on paid administrative leave. This was the second shooting in the state in just one week. The family was out of New Haven and has been in touch with Vega Cruz family. There is dash cam video, and that could be released this week. A GoFundMe page has been set up for Vega Cruz <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/justiceforchulo" target="_blank">here</a>.
Cat rescued from engine of construction truckWINSTED, CT (WFSB) - Gingey is small but mighty! This five-week-old kitty is completely fearless, except for one thing. “He’s not afraid of anything except napkins if don’t know why that is,” said Julia Nardi. But napkins aside, Julia Nardi knows Gingey, who was born as a stray, proved his bravery last week when he was on the road to his new home. He just didn’t know it yet! Somehow Gingey snuggled up inside the engine compartment of a construction workers truck in Torrington. “They took off with him and went on a roller coaster ride down Route 8,” Nardi said. The crew finally stopped at their job site on the Mixmaster in Waterbury, more than 30 miles away. An unmistakable noise rose above the sounds of construction. “A female worker heard meowing coming from a truck, so they paused all the construction and they sounded it out and they heard a little kitten and they pulled Gingey out,” Nardi said. Angela Bardino, 13, received a text message from her dad, Steve, who was a member of the work crew where Gingey was found, and minutes later the kitty was resting comfortably on Steve’s front seat. Within an hour, Julia who is a family friend picked up Gingey, she said it was love at first sound. “The whole drive home he was ‘squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak,’” said Nardi. Home for Gingey became the Bardinos house after they adopted him. Gingey was starving and ate right away with the help of a turkey baster and now the little furball isn’t just healthy, he’s a local celebrity “He’s famous, like well-known to the Winsted community,” Angela said. Gingey’s Instagram page already has more than 100 followers and this pretty kitty has a diva’s sensibility The truth is the Bardinos need Gingey just as much as the cat needs them. Angela’s older sister Lauren who loved animals recently passed away due to the opioid epidemic, and the family truly believes she put Gingey in their path. “I think this is a total sign of how she’s still here with us and she would have loved Gingey,” said Steve. Gingey was named after the engine he was found next to.
Vigil held for Windsor teen murdered in HartfordHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A family is grieving as Hartford police investigate the murder of a 16-year-old boy from Windsor. The deadly 'targeted' shooting happened early Wednesday morning. Family members and police identified the victim as 16-year-old Felipe Lopez of Windsor. According to officers, it happened on Albany Avenue around 12:45 a.m. on Wednesday. During a morning news conference, police revealed that the car Felipe Lopez had been driving was uninsured and not registered. He did not have a license. However, they also said the vehicle was not reported stolen. Felipe Lopez was found inside the crashed vehicle. Police said he struck a parked car in a church parking lot. “The car went through the traffic light at Sigourney Street going northbound, crossed Albany Avenue, went into the driveway and struck a car right in that church driveway lot," said Lt. Paul Cicero, Hartford police. Police also said he had been shot in the torso and several other places. However, the vehicle had no bullets in it. Felipe Lopez was the only one in the car when officers arrived. They said he was taken to a local hospital where he died just before 1:30 a.m. "There's a lot of emotions; sad, anger. Why is a 16-year-old driving around at 1 a.m.? Why is he in a car that's not registered or insured? What is he doing out there? Why did someone feel like the best course of action was to take this young boy's life," Cicero said. According to his family, Lopez would've celebrated his 17th birthday on Friday. His mother <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/interview-teen-s-mother-makes-plea-for-information/video_0d287fb0-fe22-54b3-a60c-a2117315ca08.html" target="_blank">made a plea for information</a> about what happened. "He was my baby," said Alma Lopez, Felipe's mother. "He was a good kid, a father, a son, a boyfriend, a brother, nephew, a friend to a lot of people." Police said they'll be looking at everything from the car, including his cell phone. They'll also be looking at cameras that were in the area. “We’re going to try and follow the car back from where it came from and see if we can get more information in that regard," Cicero said. Throughout the day on Albany Avenue, friends left behind candles. "We used to just make funny jokes and stuff and just laugh with each other," said Jadriel Santana. Felipe Lopez was enrolled in Windsor Public Schools. Superintendent Dr. Craig Cooke said he was a student at LP Wilson, which was described as an off site program. Grief counselors will be on hand at both LP Wilson and Windsor High School. More than 100 people attended a vigil to honor Lopez's life on Wednesday evening. "He was home all day long and I really don't know what happened. I thought he was home, I didn't know he was out until the cops came knocking at my door," Alma said. Felipe leaves behind an infant daughter. "It's like I'm looking at her all over again every time she smiles," Alma said. The Lopez family said she's the legacy Felipe leaves behind. "I would tell my granddaughter that her father would want her to follow her dreams, the sky's the limit," said Alma. Family members described Lopez as a funny, kind and all-around good person. The homicide marked Hartford's 8th of the year, police said. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Hartford Police Department. “I don’t care how little information you might think it is, please, please contact Hartford PD," Alma Lopez said. "I need information about what happened to my baby.” In a statement, Windsor School Superintendent Craig Cooke said "It is with deep sadness that I must share the news of the death of Windsor student Felipe Lopez, who passed away from a serious injury in Hartford, CT early this morning. Felipe has been a member of the Windsor school community for a few years and will be remembered fondly by his friends and fellow students. Losing a member of the school community can be quite devastating for students and staff as well as the greater Windsor community. We have grief counselors available at Windsor High School and the L.P. Wilson Community Center today and continuing through the week as needed. Discussing thoughts and feelings about this event is important in helping students work through their grief. We send our sincere sympathies to Felipe’s family and friends." Refresh this page and watch Eyewitness News for updates.
Man, woman killed in crash involving motorcycle in TorringtonTORRINGTON, CT (WFSB) – Two people have died in an accident involving a motorcycle in Torrington Wednesday night. According to police, a motorcycle and car crashed on Goshen Road. A man and a woman died in the crash, but police have not released their identities. Goshen Road will be closed from Lovers Lane to Klug Hill Road with traffic being detoured around the area. It is not known how long the road will be closed for. Police are investigating the crash. No other details have been released at this time. Stay tuned to Ch. 3 for updates on this story.
Teen injured after being hit by car while running into roadBLOOMFIELD, CT (WFSB) – A teen suffered minor injuries after being hit by a car in Bloomfield on Wednesday afternoon. Police responded to the scene on Park Avenue around 4:20 p.m. A 15-year-old male was found to have suffered scrapes to the head, hands, side and slight bleeding from the ear. The driver of the car remained on the scene. According to police, witnesses said the teen ran into the roadway without looking, and the driver attempted to avoid hitting the teen, but was unable to do so. The teen was brought to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for treatment. No other details were released.
Victim of New Haven officer-involved shooting released from hospitalHAMDEN, CT (WFSB) - Clergy and community leaders responded to body camera footage that shows the moments a Hamden officer opened fire on what appeared to be an unarmed couple in New Haven. The <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/video-police-release-body-cam-footage-of-new-haven-officer/video_a0853b99-c24e-57fa-941f-9f0fee6de128.html" target="_blank">state released the video</a> on Tuesday, which is rare during an active investigation. It revealed that the body cams worn by both the Hamden officer and a responding Yale officer were either improperly used or not used at all. Bishops and community leaders held a news conference on Wednesday morning, saying the Hamden and Yale officers involved should be fired. They said they have issues with how dispatch wasn't notified about the officers' attempt to stop the car <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/body-cam-footage-shows-some-of-officer-involved-shooting/article_962d3324-65b2-11e9-af5d-df513a94d85f.html" target="_blank">The state said it released the video a week after the incident</a> in an effort to be as transparent as possible. "They have not acted this fast before. So that is a step in the right direction but Hamden and Yale must make a step now," said Rev. Boise Kimber. Channel 3 was the first station to show viewers <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/clergy-community-awaits-release-of-body-cam-footage-of-officer/article_37bfad56-6532-11e9-84b4-db2f813d7f7e.html" target="_blank">a version of surveillance video</a> that showed the officer-involved shooting on Dixwell Avenue. The body cam video <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/video-police-release-body-cam-footage-of-new-haven-officer/video_a0853b99-c24e-57fa-941f-9f0fee6de128.html" target="_blank">showed Hamden Officer Devin Eaton's perspective</a>. It was a quick sequence, but the state replayed it for the media at three different speeds. Stephanie Washington, 22, was shot in the face, authorities said. Her boyfriend, 21-year-old Paul Witherspoon, was not hurt. He was the one behind the wheel. Washington was released from the hospital on Wednesday, according to a family friend. "I just say I thank God that they’re both still here. That they both still here and I say to my son 'you have a second chance of life. I could’ve been burying you today'," said Keisha Greene, Witherspoon's mother. The couple was inside a car that matched the description of one reported in an armed robbery at a gas station in Hamden, state investigators said. The robbery happened just moments before the officer-involved shooting. Eaton crossed the city line into New Haven looking for the car. The body cam footage was accessed through a recall function because Eaton turned it on after firing his weapon, the state said. Yale Officer Terrance Pollack, who also responded, never turned his on, the state confirmed. "The cameras are inconsistent not only [for] state statute but post recommended policy and procedures when engaging your cameras," said Commissioner James Rovella, Department of Emergency Services and Public Safety. On Wednesday, clergy members from around New Haven demanded swift justice, saying the New Haven State's Attorney's office did not need to wait for the investigation to be done for Hamden and Yale police to fire the officers. It's the same demand activists are calling for, with many vowing to protest until the police departments fire the officers. The video will be enhanced, but that part of the investigation could take months. The affidavit of the search warrant ordered on Witherspoon's car is expected to be made available on Wednesday. However, the state revealed that there were no weapons found during a search of the vehicle. No one has been charged in the case. On Wednesday, the Greater New Haven NAACP has been keeping a close eye on the police shooting. "This was a big fail. And so this is going to be used as an example of what not to do," said Dori Dumas, president of the Greater New Haven NAACP. He said he was stunned by the body cam video. "The conduct it’s just disgusting the way those police officers handled the whole situation. Everything about it is wrong," Dumas said.
Shooting, crash under investigation in New HavenNEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -- Police in New Haven were called to a shooting and car crash on Wednesday afternoon. It happened in the area of Division Street near Sheffield Avenue, a little before 2 p.m. Police said a 32-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder. He's in critical condition. He had been driving a car that crashed into a bus stop shelter on Division Street. Nobody was at the bus stop shelter when the crash happened. Stay with Ch. 3 as more information becomes available.
City, town leaders meet with Lamont to discuss budgetsHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Governor Ned Lamont met with leaders from cities and towns today. Mayors and first selectmen have concerns about what the budget will mean for them, and most importantly, if they will have to pay for teacher pensions. The meeting was held for about an hour. The governor and town leaders say it was a positive one. After meeting with Lamont behind closed doors for about an hour, leaders from several Connecticut cities and towns seemed pleased. "We are all happy. We are leaving the room smiling. The governor has been very receptive to us, addressing some concerns of ours,” said Neil O’Leary, CCM President. Neil O’Leary, a longtime Waterbury mayor is the president of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, which includes all cities and towns. They didn't want to go into much detail, but the issue of teacher pensions was a hot topic. Governor Malloy wanted all municipalities to share some of the costs. While Lamont's plan would only make those towns that pay their teachers above the median salary pay towards pensions. “Right now, the state is facing a tremendous cliff when it comes to the teachers’ pension fund. We have some work to do, we are negotiating that,” Lamont said. Rudy Marconi, the first selectman of Ridgefield says his town would be impacted because they pay roughly 18 percent above the median salary. “The teachers work in our town and the town should be responsible in some manner shape or form for part of or all of the retirement cost. What we are saying today, it's that cost has to have a cap on it, for now there's no cap,” Marconi said. Cities and towns also want to the ability to raise revenues to offset some of these new costs, that could be a hotel tax or a tax on new equipment. During the Malloy administration, municipalities found the biggest challenge was inconsistency, not knowing what was in store in the budget. Right now they feel more comfortable, and say Lamont seems to be more transparent.
UN: No screen time for babies; only 1 hour for kids under 5LONDON (AP/WFSB) — The World Health Organization has issued its first-ever guidance for how much screen time that children under five should get: not very much. The U.N. health agency said Wednesday that children under 1 should not have any screen time while those under five should not spend more than one hour watching screens every day — and that less is better. The guidelines are somewhat similar to advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics. That group recommends children younger than 18 months should avoid screens other than video chats. It says parents of young children should choose "high-quality programming." "My spouse and I differ on what we think is acceptable screen time," said Dee Wilcox of East Hampton. Many parents can attest that putting these guidelines into action is harder than it sounds. "It's kind of hard to escape. You're finding it even in day cares, that it's party of like a routine that they kind of use as kind of a quiet time," Wilcox said. The World Health Organization didn't get into the science behind the warning, but three years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics did and their research shows too much screen time can harm children's quality of sleep, replace physical activity, and reduce face to face social interaction. Dr. Max Davie of Britain's Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health said "there is not strong evidence to support the setting of screen time limits," and that "individual assessment is paramount." Limited screen time for those about 1-years-old is OK, but the World Health Organization says choose what you watch carefully and watch it with your child to help them understand it.
Bill to give clean slate to non-violent offenders who can’t find workHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A call to action to help those with criminal records get jobs. A large percentage of people with non-violent offenses can't find work, and now a non-profit group is pushing for legislation to give them a clean slate. People spoke on Wednesday who have gotten their lives together, but they say their criminal record has followed them around forever. This could help thousands of people, but it is controversial. “One of the biggest obstacles I faced was getting a job. Again and again I was turned away because of my criminal past,” said Richard Delvalle, formerly incarcerated. Richard Devalle struggled with a life of drugs and crime, now he is clean. He went back to school and now runs several recovery houses to help others who are trying to regain control of their lives. Sixty percent of those incarcerated remain unemployed one year after their release and formerly incarcerated men earn 40 percent less. CONECT, Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, wants to make it easier for some with criminal records to be more successful. They support legislation which would totally wipe out their records. A clean slate would be given to those who do not return to crimes three years after misdemeanors and five years after a non-violent felony. A criminal record can also prevent some from achieving other goals. Rogsbert King has a criminal record but says that was back in the late 80's. “For the past 12 years I’ve been out of trouble, working however I am prevented from getting a license as a social worker which means I cannot complete my masters,” King said. On its face, Republican Representative Rosa Rebimbas feels this has advantages, but the expunging of records would be automatic, and she has concerns. “This is something that takes place automatically. Therefore, you do not have the individual actually certifying the fact they have not been rearrested. They have not committed a crime or are currently being investigated,” said Rebimbas. Critics feel if this was done on a case by case basis, they would be more supportive. Judiciary passed it, but it must be voted on in the Senate and then the House in order to pass.