BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — A year into his role as Bristol mayor, Jeff Caggiano is now leading his city through through a period of mourning after the deaths of two officers.
Caggiano received a call late Wednesday night from the police chief, who said he was heading to a shooting.
“Mayor, sorry for waking you up,” Caggiano remembers Chief Brian Gould saying. “This is a bad one.”
Within a few hours, Caggiano would learn the full extent of what happened — two officers were dead, and another injured, after a 911 call deliberately lured them into an ambush.
Now, he’s working with police to assure that the families of 35-year-old Sgt. Dustin DeMonte and 34-year-old Officer Alex Hamzy are being taken care of. Officer Alec Iurato, 26, was wounded. The suspect, Nicholas Brutcher, was killed, and his brother, Nathan Brutcher, was injured.
“I think time will heal,” Caggiano said. “I think that the thought process that people have wanted to help is great, and I think one of the big things that everybody can do that I do want to talk about is the Bristol Police Hero’s Fund. So we need to honor those families and take care of those young families moving forward.”
The fund is set up through the Bristol Police Union at Thomaston Savings Bank.
He’s received an outpouring of support from Connecticut, and even around the world, since the shooting. That’s including ESPN World Headquarters lighting up blue, and the Yankees acknowledging the officers before a game.
There’s enough food at the police department, Caggiano joked, to feed the entire city for a day or two.
Other departments have sent officers in so that Bristol police don’t have to work.
“It’s a pretty cool thing to see,” Caggiano said. “I mean, the other things I see are town are back the blue flags all over the place. And as these officers drive around in their own vehicles from other towns, their lights are on in solidarity and respect for our fallen officers.”
As a “big small town,” he said the shooting has impacted everyone.
He remembers seeing Hamzy at a torch run for the Special Olympics, where they ran for seven miles together.
“Always smiling,” Caggiano said. “I’ve never seen Alex not smile.”
He is proud of how the police department has handled itself with grace in wake of the tragedy.
“My heart bleeds,” Caggiano said. “…we’re the all-heart city, and we will have a hole in our heart for generations to come. And as those young families grow up, I just pray for them and so sorry for their loss.”
Watch the full interview at 10 a.m. Sunday on This Week in Connecticut.