WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A surprising new detail emerging from Tuesday’s officer-involved shooting on Marley Place in Waterbury.
Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said Officer Charles Mauriello was accidentally shot by a fellow officer, not by a suspect. The chief said it happened while police were investigating a report of a stolen car that had allegedly been involved in a kidnapping in New Britain.
Police there had been looking for a man named Robert Harrison. Chief Spagnolo said Harrison was seen walking up to the car in Waterbury and gunfire broke out when officers started to approach him.
“As the officers were conducting that operation taking Harrison into custody, the officers recognized and noticed two SUVs — later identified as stolen SUVs — revving their engines and beginning to proceed at a high rate of speed,” Spagnolo said.
Chief Spagnolo adds those vehicles struck several police cars. An officer in one of those cars suffered what the chief called a serious concussion. The other officers on the scene felt they were in danger and being threatened.
Chief Spagnolo said that is when Officer Garrett Pagel, a 5-year veteran, fired his gun.
“One of those rounds struck Officer Charles Mauriello in the vest in his chest,” the chief said.
The stolen car sped away. Connecticut State Police caught up to it at the Oxford Airport, taking four people into custody.
Waterbury police arrested Harrison in the city and a juvenile. The Waterbury Police Department turned Harrison over to the New Britain PD for their kidnapping case.
Chief Spagnolo told News 8 Harrison is known to Waterbury police. He said Harrison has been involved in alleged car thefts in Waterbury and allegedly involved in some of the recent shooting incidents in Waterbury.
Connecticut State Police are now taking over the investigation. Sergeant Joseph Duva was asked about his early impressions involving the shot fired by Officer Pagel, who is now on paid administrative leave.
“The officer was attempting to stop the threat he was placed in,” said Sgt. Duva. “The intended target was for him to stop that threat.”
The Chief State’s Attorney assigned the undersigned State’s Attorney to determine if Officer Pagel’s use of force was appropriate. The Western District Major Crime Unit is also assisting with the investigation to determine the circumstances of the incident. It was determined that the four Waterbury officers at the scene were not wearing body cameras, nor were their vehicles equipped with dash cameras.