HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Leaders in the state are reacting after a man allegedly walked up to a police cruiser and fired into a window at point-blank range, narrowly missing the officer inside.
When Hartford Police arrested 31-year-old Jose Cajigas, they said he had a lengthy criminal history going back many years, including 13 different arrests, with some for violent robbery, some for narcotics, and three for firearms violations.
Police also say Cajigas is also the prime suspect in a murder that happened just 12 hours before he allegedly shot at the police officer.
The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association issued a statement Thursday, which comes after a suspect was arrested for shooting at a police officer in Norwich on Tuesday. It said in part:
“The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association is outraged and extremely concerned about the recent random attacks on officers in Norwich and Hartford. We are thankful that the officers were not seriously injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. These incidents should be condemned and serve as a reminder to all of the inherent dangers that officers face on a daily basis.”
The question lawmakers have is how can this happen? How can someone who has a firearms violation as recent as 12 days ago be released on probation and find his way back onto the streets with a firearm?
Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody said it happens quite frequently.
“We need to take a look at this because this is not a unique case when it comes to gun crimes,” Thody said. “It’s not that we don’t know who is driving the crime. It is a matter of holding them accountable so they can’t be out there time and time again.”
State Sen. Tony Hwang weighed in on this saying the justice system needs to be put under a microscope.
“You have to acknowledge the problem, if you’re saying there is no problem, then you’re putting your head in the sand,” Hwang said.
Hwang said from violent crime to stolen cars, from juveniles to adults, criminals must be held accountable.
“You can’t confuse the fact that we need to create second-chance opportunities for good people who make mistakes, but we also need to recognize that there are hardened criminals that are a threat in danger,” Hwang said.
The solution is not an easy one, with officials saying it is a delicate balance between rehabilitation and public safety.
“What we need is accountability that is not some broad brush. We need some accountability that is focused on the individuals that we know commit violent crime and that information is there. We just need to use it better,” Thody said.
The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association said more must be done in their statement:
“While there are no easy solutions, more has to be done to address rates of recidivism and flaws in the bond system that allow something like this to happen. We must work together to protect those who protect our communities.”