BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — Thursday marks one year since Bristol Police Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy were killed in the line of duty. Their deaths continue to impact the Bristol community and beyond.
On Oct. 12, 2022, DeMonte and Hamzy were shot and killed in an ambush while responding to a 911 call. Investigators said Officer Alec Iurato, wounded in the attack, fired a single shot, killing the gunman. He recently returned to work, protecting a community forever grateful for his service and actions that night.
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News 8’s Eva Zymaris spoke to Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould, who said members of this department found strength by leaning on one another and through the Bristol community.
“The hurt never goes away,” Gould said. “The sadness never goes away. A lot of people see me doing this and doing that out front. I always say make no mistake about it — it’s the men and women of the police department and the families who are leading me through this crisis.”
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Gould said the department has hired eight officers in the last year. It’s moments after a tragedy that brings out the greatness in people, he said.
“When we were speaking to the people coming and applying with us, they made it a point to say they felt a calling after the sacrifices of Alex, Dustin and Alec, and they wanted to be part of this,” Gould said.
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Gould faced the unimaginable: leading a department through tragedy.
“Sometimes it feels like it was yesterday. Other times, it feels like it was a long time ago,” he said. “You walk around our headquarters, and Dustin and Alex are everywhere.”
Iurato, the surviving officer in the ambush, was hailed a hero for his actions on Oct. 12, 2022.
“What can you say about Alec other than just remarkable? Most people will go through their entire career and, fortunately, never get seriously hurt or have to perform the way he performed that night,” Gould said.
As the department looks ahead, they’re keeping DeMonte and Hamzy at the center of what they do by honoring their memory and carrying on their legacy by serving with compassion, professionalism and pride for Bristol.
“We want to honor them forever,” Gould said.
There are plans for a permanent memorial outside the Bristol Police Department on North Main Street.
Chief State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin, New Britain State’s Attorney Christian Watson and Inspector General Robert Devlin, Jr. issued a joint statement Thursday, saying in part:
“On behalf of the Division of Criminal Justice, Chief State’s Attorney Griffin, State’s Attorney Watson and Inspector General Devlin wish to express their sincere condolences to the families of Lieutenant DeMonte and Sergeant Hamzy as they are remembered today, and every day.”
State officials said the investigation into the deadly ambush is “nearing completion” and “it is expected that a report will be issued soon.”