NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) — A Naugatuck Police officer remains in the hospital Monday after he was severely injured in a hit-and-run that witnesses called deliberate on Thursday. As the lieutenant recovers, Naugatuck residents say they are angry by this act of violence and mobilizing to show their support for Naugatuck Police.
“When people talk about police officers and doing their things and whatever your thoughts are negative or positive,” resident Manny Pinho said. “This is what brings it home. This picture right here is about what they have to go through.”
Pinho is referring to a picture that shows Lt. Mark Pettinicchi in his hospital bed with braces on both of his legs. Police say the lieutenant suffered fractures to both legs and ankles and will reportedly need several more surgeries. Following that could be months of rehab before he’s able to walk again.
“He has a long road to recovery ahead of him,” said Deputy Chief Colin McAllister of the Naugatuck Police Department.
But, in the borough, they have a slogan: ‘Naugy Strong.’
That’s the name of the online group Pinho runs. It has more than 3,000 members. They just started a GoFundMe page to help the lieutenant and his family during this difficult time.
In less than 24 hours, at the filing of this report, they’ve collected close to $7,500.
“You can’t put that into words,” Pinho said. “For what we’re doing, putting things together, it makes my heart grow.”
Deputy Chief McAllister told News 8 the department is getting flooded with well wishes.
“And that’s been expressed through phone calls and text messages,” he said. “Not only Lt. Pettinicchi and his family have received, but a lot of our officers have been approached by members of the community.”
Pinho hopes Lt. Pettinicchi can remain Naugy Strong as he battles to get back up on his feet again someday.
“I would just say, we’ve got your back,” Pinho said.