HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Hartford police exchanged gunfire with a suspect after a traffic stop just after midnight on Tuesday in the area of South Whitney and Capitol Avenue.
It’s what every police officer dreads. You’re on a routine patrol, pulling over a car driving erratically, moments later, you’re dodging bullets in a dark alley.
Two Hartford officers pulled over a grey sedan. It did not stop at first, and once it did, a man with a gun jumped out and started running. So police chased him, but the suspect started shooting at them.
“I just heard gunshots,” said Jose Morales, who lives nearby. “I’m not exactly sure how many. Just pops right after another.”
“There was an exchange of gunfire between at least one of the two officers and the suspect,” confirmed Hartford Police spokesman Lt. Paul Cicero. “The suspect was struck multiple times.”
The suspect was hit in the leg, and hit enough times to put him in critical condition at Hartford Hospital. Neither officer was hit, which is pretty amazing since police tell us this all happened in the last place you want a firefight.
“It’s in alley about four feet wide. Very dangerous. No lighting. We’re very lucky. A routine motor vehicle stop turns like this,” Lt. Cicero said. “It’s very dangerous, very scary scenario.”
Police were able to secure a handgun and other items at the scene.
The State Police are now investigating, as they do any shooting involving local police. Those Hartford officers were here because police have increased patrols to try to fight an uptick in gun crimes in this neighborhood.
“We’re not talking about gunfire that happened tonight,” said Trooper First Class Tanya Compagnone, spokesperson for the Connecticut State Police. “This is recent gunfire activity that’s been ongoing for several weeks.”
We asked Morales whether gunfire is becoming a familiar sound.
“Maybe, yeah, but I’ve been here for 30 years in this city, so it’s hard to say, but you sort of get used to it,” Morales said.
As for the car police pulled over, it had at least one other person in it, and that person drove off, so police are still looking for that grey sedan. They were not able to provide a make or model for the car.