Two Connecticut police officers were fatally shot and one was seriously injured after a possible ambush Wednesday in the suburban city of Bristol, police said.
Connecticut State Police said Thursday that an emergency call about possible domestic violence appeared to have been “a deliberate act to lure law enforcement to the scene” in Bristol, which is about 20 miles southwest of Hartford, the state’s capital.
The Bristol police officers responded to the call, which involved two siblings, around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday when they were confronted by a man outside the home, Connecticut State Police Sgt. Christine Jelteman said at a Thursday news conference.
Shots were fired, and one officer was pronounced dead at the scene, Jelteman said. Two other officers were hit by the gunfire. One died at a hospital and the other was seriously wounded.
Police haven’t yet said who opened fire, who fired the fatal shots, or how many guns were fired in all. No video of the confrontation has emerged publicly.
Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould identified the officers who died as Sgt. Dustin Demonte, 35, and Officer Alex Hamzy, 34. He said the officer who was injured, 26-year-old Alex Iarato, is recovering after surgery.
The suspect, 35-year-old Nicholas Brutcher, was shot dead, and his 32-year-old brother, Nathan Brutcher, was wounded, police said.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Brutchers or their family have an attorney.
Neighbors said they heard two or three sets of gunshots, about 30 in all.
“I heard a whole war going on behind me,” said Danny Rodriguez, who said he was outside his home across the street when the gunfire rang out. It was so intense that he could smell gunpowder in the air, he said.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s office directed flags in Connecticut be lowered to half staff in honor of the officers.
“This is a senseless tragedy, and my prayers are with their families, loved ones, and fellow officers,” Lamont tweeted.
Scores of officers lined a street and followed a vehicle carrying Hamzy’s body from the shooting scene late Thursday morning. Demonte died at a hospital.
“We lost two exceptional Bristol police officers, and a third was seriously injured, as a result of senseless violence,” Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould said at a news conference.
Demonte, 35, was a 10-year veteran officer and co-recipient of his department’s 2019 Officer of the Year award. He was “very focused on his career and furthering his career and education,” the chief said. Demonte, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology, worked as a school resource officer. He and his wife were expecting their third child, Gould said.
Philip Demonte Jr. called his brother “an all-around good guy” with a great sense of humor. “No one had anything bad to say” about him, his brother said. “Terrible loss, someone who died for no reason.”
Hamzy, 34, had gotten many letters of commendation during his eight years on his hometown police force, the chief said. Like Demonte, Hamzy was an advisor to a police cadet program.
“The outpouring of love, support and prayers from so many is deeply appreciated,” Hamzy’s family said in a statement.
Iurato, 26, joined the Bristol department in 2018 and has a bachelor’s degree in government, law and national security, the chief said. Iurato was released from a hospital Thursday morning.
The shooting comes days after a police officer in Mississippi was killed Tuesday and several other people were injured by gunfire. Wednesday, three Philadelphia police officers were injured as a SWAT team tried to arrest a man on a homicide charge. And in Decatur, Illinois, two officers were shot and injured Wednesday while conducting a traffic stop.
Contributing: The Associated Press