New Haven

Exclusive: driver of car in New Haven officer involved-shooting speaks to News 8

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) - Connecticut State Police are investigating after a woman was injured in an officer-involved shooting in New Haven early Tuesday morning. 

The heavy police presence had closed Dixwell Avenue and Argyle Street where around eight or nine police cruisers were on scene, including officers from New Haven, Hamden and Yale University

A New Haven city official said that at around 4:20 a.m., Hamden officers investigated a report of an attempted armed robbery and located the vehicle that was suspected to be involved in the area of Argyle Street and Dixwell Avenue. 

A Hamden officer, assisted by a Yale police officer, then made contact with the occupants of that vehicle. During that time, shots were fired by police. 

 

 

The woman injured was 22-year-old Stephanie Washington. She was shot while she was in the car and suffered a non-life threatening bullet wound and is being treated at a local hospital.

News 8's Mario Boone has learned that the driver in the car with Washington was 21-year-old Paul Witherspoon III, who was identified by his mother. She said that he is the father of a 1-year-old baby girl. He was taken into custody for questioning and released later without charges.

According to officials, no member of the New Haven Police Department was involved in this incident. 

The State Attorney's office has assigned the CT State Police Major Crimes Squad to take over the investigation.

News 8's Kent Pierce was on scene where he said that there was a red Honda Civic with a couple of bullet holes in the back window of the car.  

A witness told News 8 that multiple police officers fired at the woman and a man in the red Honda. He said that the woman was hit in the face and taken away by ambulance, and that the couple in the car was unarmed.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp issued a statement, which read:

No member of the New Haven Police Department was involved in last night’s shooting incident; New Haven Police officers arrived after-the-fact to help secure and hold the crime scene, allowing investigators from the Connecticut State Police Major Crimes Unit to gather evidence and begin their investigation.

At the same time, I remain gravely concerned about what transpired. I called the mother of the young woman who was shot to express my concern and wish the young woman a thorough recovery, and I pledged to work with my counterpart in Hamden and police officials from all three jurisdictions to ascertain exactly what happened, so we can work to avoid it happening again.

A conference call to include Mayor Leng, all three police chiefs, and me is scheduled for Wednesday morning to continue the conversation about how this happened and how to prevent anything like it from happening again.

In a statement, Hamden Mayor Curt Leng said:

Every single time a gun is fired in our community, it has my concern and my immediate attention.

Please know that this incident is being investigated with the utmost seriousness it deserves. The State of Connecticut has come in to conduct a full investigation. 

As Mayor, I will need to hold off on any further public comments to ensure nothing I say has even the slightest chance of tainting what I trust will be a comprehensive  investigation and evaluation by the State. 

WEB EXTRA: News 8's Kent Pierce answers your questions and has the latest on what witnesses saw on scene 

 

Web Extra: Clergy members, community leaders speak on officer-involved shooting in New Haven

 

Web Extra: Protests surround Hamden Police Department following shooting


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