BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — A semi-automatic gun was used to shoot and kill two Bristol police officers late Wednesday night hours after law enforcement came into contact with the suspect at a bar, according to sources close to the investigation.
The guns seized by police were legally registered, including an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle purchased and registered before the weapons were outlawed in Connecticut in 2013.
Sgt. Dustin DeMonte, 35, and Officer Alex Hamzy, 34, were killed after police said they were lured to a Bristol home for a possible domestic violence situation between two brothers. Officer Alec Iurato, 26, was wounded.
Earlier that night, police were called to a dispute at the bar Bleachers which involved the suspect, 35-year-old Nicholas Brutcher, according to sources close to the investigation. A car belonging to one of the two brothers was towed from the scene.
Sources have not clarified the nature or cause of the dispute.
Connecticut State Police Sgt. Christine Jeltema said the officers were responding to a report of domestic violence at about 10:30 p.m. when they encountered someone outside the house and shots were fired. State police said in a release that the 911 call appears to have been “a deliberate act to lure law enforcement” to the house on Redstone Hill Road.
Sources close to the investigation confirmed to News 8 that Nicholas Brutcher used an AR-15-style firearm in the shooting. Those sources also told News 8 that 14 guns were seized from the home during the investigation.
Hamzy was pronounced dead on the scene. DeMonte was taken to Bristol Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A procession led their bodies to the state medical examiner’s office in Farmington.
The public information officer from the office of chief medical examiner confirmed that DeMonte suffered gunshot wounds to the head, torso, and extremities. Hamzy also suffered gunshots to the head and torso.
Nicholas Brutcher died from a gunshot wound to the neck, which caused a spinal cord injury, according to the state medical examiner’s office.
All three deaths are being ruled as homicides, the office said.
The video above is from News 8 at 5 on Oct. 13, 2022.
State police said Nicholas Brutcher was shot and pronounced dead at the scene. His brother, Nathan Brutcher, 32, was also shot and taken to St. Francis Hospital for treatment of his wounds. His condition was not immediately known.
Police haven’t yet said who opened fire or how many guns were fired in all. Sources close to the investigation told News 8 that Iurato was the only officer who returned fire, shooting Nicholas Brutcher in the neck.
Witnesses said they heard three sets of gunshots, about 30 in all.
“I heard a whole war going on behind me,” said Danny Rodriguez, who said he was outside his home across the street when the gunfire rang out. It was so intense that he could smell gunpowder in the air, he said.
Sgt. Dustin DeMonte, a 10-year veteran of the department, was assigned to the patrol division. He was also a school resource officer at Greene-Hills and West Bristol schools. He was a co-recipient of his department’s 2019 Officer of the Year award. He and his wife were expecting their third child, Gould said.
Officer Alex Hamzy, an 8-year veteran of the department, was assigned to the patrol division. He was raised in Bristol and graduated from Bristol Eastern High School in 2006. He is survived by his wife and parents.
Like Demonte, Hamzy was an advisor to a police cadet program.
“The outpouring of love, support and prayers from so many is deeply appreciated,” Hamzy’s family said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.
Officer Alec Iurato, a 4-year veteran of the department, is a member of the patrol division. He has a bachelor’s degree in government, law and national security, the chief said.
“We need your thoughts. We need your prayers.”
“We lost two exceptional Bristol police officers, and a third was seriously injured as a result of senseless violence,” Gould said at a news conference. “We need your thoughts. We need your prayers.”
Jeltema said this was an isolated incident, and there is no threat to the public.
“This is a very complex, ongoing investigation led by detectives from the Connecticut State
Police Major Crimes Unit, at the request of the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney,” a statement issued by state police read. “Connecticut State Police and municipal police agencies are offering mutual aid to Bristol Police; residents may see neighboring agencies covering patrol functions as the Bristol Police Department begins to process this extraordinary loss.”
In a statement, the Connecticut State Police Union said they hope to “provide the comfort and support necessary to make a difference for everyone affected by this cowardly act of violence.”
“Officer Hamzy and Sergeant DeMonte responded to this call for service with bravery and were
senselessly ambushed for simply protecting and defending others,” the union’s statement read. “These officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep their community safe and made the ultimate sacrifice. All of Connecticut should pause to support and remember these brave officers and their families.”
VIDEO: Police identify the officers killed and wounded
Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) directed flags in the state to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the officers. He released the following statement:
I am directing flags in Connecticut lowered to half-staff effective immediately in honor of two Bristol Police officers who were killed in the line of duty late last night while responding to an emergency call of domestic violence at a private residence in town. This is a senseless tragedy, and my prayers are with their families, loved ones, and fellow officers. I also ask the residents of CT to keep in their prayers a third officer who was shot and is currently in the hospital with serious injures. This is a devastating remind of the dangers that police officers face every day to protect our families and neighbors from all kinds of situations. These officers are heroes and will always be remembered for the honorable service they provided to their town and state. THis continues to be an active situation, and I’ve directed DESPP Commissioner James Rovella and the CT State Police to support Bristol police and the greater community in every way they can.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.