BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The suspect in a nearly seven-hour shootout with police in Branford Tuesday is dead, and now police are searching for a motive.
Tuesday, police were called to an active shooter situation near Main Street and Cherry Hill Road in Branford.
When police arrived, they encountered heavy gunfire from the second floor of a hair salon. Mutual aid including Connecticut State Police, SWAT, and the Bomb Squad arrived to assist during the standoff.
Local residents were evacuated from their homes and shoppers in nearby businesses took shelter. One person was shot and sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
After several attempts to communicate with the suspect, and nearly seven hours of a standoff, police found him inside the building in which he had barricaded, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Now, police are looking into who the suspect – Wednesday identified as Matthew Walker – was as a person and what would have motivated him to do what he did.
“Our investigation is in the early stages,” police said Wednesday. “There are many unknowns…I have no information for you regarding the motives of our suspect…We are looking into his background. We don’t have all the details about our prior history on him.”
What officials did reveal Wednesday is that Walker had legally registered firearms and that multiple caliber weapons were used in Tuesday’s shooting.
“We’re very very fortunate more lives were not lost,” police added.
While the police were still counting bullets in and around the crime scene in Branford, we spoke with Shelly’s Garden Center owner John Chambers who ducked behind pallets and ushered customers inside when the gunfire rang out.
“I had to hide for a while, time to reload his gun when he started shooting at the police is when I got up and ran back into the building,” Chambers explained.
Pepe’s Service Station owner Larry Staup rushed the injured owner of the nearby package store to safety
“He was walking around dazed, I guess. He said, ‘Larry, I think I’ve been hit.'” Staup said. “I went out, got him inside the building, and fortunately he’s OK. Had some surgery last night and he’s going to be in the hospital a couple of days.”
Neighbors say the gunman lived on the second floor of the hair salon. Windows of that building blown out. Bullet holes on houses, trucks, gas pumps, everywhere following the shootout.
The big question now is ‘why?’ Still not answered. The saving grace, police say, Walker did not kill anyone else.