WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Police arrested a suspect involved in the shooting of an undercover Naugatuck police officer in Waterbury on Wednesday night.
Jason Perez, 40, is charged with first-degree assault, first-degree conspiracy to commit assault, and illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle in connection with the shooting.
Two officers assigned to the Connecticut State Police Violent Crimes Task Force were conducting an undercover surveillance operation in the area of the Chase Parkway near the Interstate 84 East on-ramp in Waterbury around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday. They were looking for a known felon with a shooting warrant out of Wolcott, Waterbury police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said.
The officers realized countersurveillance was being conducted on them and left the area, the police chief said. Court documents obtained by News 8 reveal Perez and another man in a black Audi allegedly followed them onto I-84, which is when shots were fired from the suspect’s car, hitting the Naugatuck police officer who was driving.
A bullet hit the right shoulder/chest area of the officer. He was treated and released from a hospital and is now recovering “quite well,” Spagnolo said. The Wolcott police officer was a passenger in the vehicle and was not hit.
Police said this shows how dangerous the job can be.
“This incident definitely highlights the dangers that our officers face out there,” Naugatuck police Chief Colin McCallister said. “It reminds up what they’re up against, but the fact that they’re eager to come back to work and want to continue despite these dangers speaks to their character.”
“I’ve been a police officer 30 years in the state of Connecticut,” Spagnolo said. “It’s unheard of to me… I never remember this type of violence occurring against police officers at any time during my career.”
Police are working to determine if Perez was the shooter. The investigation is still very active and more arrests are expected, Spagnolo said.
Spagnolo said Perez is a convicted felon known to the Waterbury Police Department and other agencies in the state. He has been arrested five times on six charges, including sales of narcotics, breach of peace and robbery, between 2002 and 2015.
Perez turned himself in to Waterbury police Thursday night. Perez was not the person the undercover officers were looking for on Wednesday night, police said.
Perez was arraigned Friday and is being held on a $1 million bond. He is due back in court on Nov. 30.
Police have not released the wounded officer’s name due to the nature of the undercover operation.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact the Waterbury Police Department Detective Bureau at (203) 574-6941 or Crime Stoppers at (203) 755-1234.