HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — According to the state’s attorney, the use of deadly use of force in an officer-involved shooting in July 2019 has been found as justified.
On Thursday, Matthew C. Gedansky, State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Hartford, released an independent report concerning the use of deadly physical force by Hartford police that resulted in the death of 41-year-old Alphonso Zaporta on July 26, 2019.
Reports state Zaporta, of Windsor, sped away from officers in a stolen car when they tried to pull him over during a criminal investigation.
When he drove onto Interstate 84 police used a stop stick to stop the car.
When officers approached Zaporta he lunged at officers.
GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: Body camera footage from shooting
Footage shows Detective Zack Sherry shooting and killing Zaporta.
Since the incident, body camera footage from all three officers was released.
After watching the footage, listening to audio, and looking at other evidence, Gedansky determined that Zaporta’s death was justified under Connecticut state law to protect “officers and civilians in the immediate area from the use of imminent physical force.”
“I again extend my condolences to Mr. Zaporta’s family on the tragic loss of their loved one,” Gedansky said. “I also wish to thank the Connecticut State Police, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Science Laboratory and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for their exhaustive work on this matter.”
Mayor Luke Bronin released the following statement Thursday night:
“Whenever police use lethal force, it is a tragedy, and there needs to be a complete, thorough, impartial, and timely investigation. I want to thank the State’s Attorney for conducting that kind of investigation. After reviewing all of the evidence, including body camera footage and statements from people close to Mr. Zaporta, the State’s Attorney found that the officers involved were indeed in serious danger, and that they had no other responsible choice but to use lethal force in self-defense. My heart goes out to the family of Mr. Zaporta, as well as to the officers who will live with the memory of this event for the rest of their lives.”
A statement from Interim Police Chief Jason Thody read:
“Regardless of the circumstances, a life was lost in this incident, and we extend our continued condolences to Mr. Zaporta’s family. Since this shooting occurred last July, the Hartford Police Department has fully cooperated with the State Police and the State’s Attorney’s office in their independent investigation, and I want to thank them for their expeditious and comprehensive report. Our obligation as police officers is to use force as a last resort. In this case, it is clear that our officers and those civilians present on the on-ramp that night were in imminent danger.”