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Bodycam reveals state trooper shot man just before he prepared to throw a knife

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Lisa Backus
Journal Inquirer, Manchester, Conn.
(TNS)

Video released Tuesday by the state’s Inspector General shows a Connecticut State Police trooper shooting a 29-year-old man who was holding a knife after authorities responded to a request for a welfare check at the Meadow Road address Friday afternoon.

The man, identified as Maxim Nowak, is being treated at a hospital, according to a preliminary report issued by Inspector General Robert Devlin. Nowak was “experiencing a mental health crisis” and was threatening to harm himself and others and was waving a knife before police arrived, Devlin said in the report.

The trooper who fired several shots at Nowak was identified as Trooper Brian Contenta, who repeatedly told the Bolton man to drop the weapon by saying, “come on buddy, let’s not do this.” Footage from Contenta’s body camera shows him shooting at Nowak repeatedly. It is unclear whether Nowak was threatening anyone within reach with the knife when Contenta fired. Contenta, who has been a trooper since 2010, has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation, state police said.

State police said in a news release that troopers from Troop K responded to an “assist citizen” call at an address on Meadow Road in Bolton around 2:15 p.m. Friday.

Contenta appeared to know Nowak, based on what the trooper said during the encounter, his body camera video showed. Troopers Doug Bernier and Wendy Garcia-Campos also had responded and were inside the residence as Contenta was telling Nowak to drop the knives he was holding in what appeared to be the doorway of the kitchen area of the house, the video showed.

Contenta can be heard repeatedly saying, “please drop the knife, you know me buddy, come on buddy, let’s not do this,” the video shows. At one point, Bernier pulled out a Taser and threatens to use the weapon on Nowak, who can be heard yelling for him to drop the Taser as the 29-year-old is holding a knife in each hand.

Contenta fired repeatedly when Nowak made a twirling motion with one of the knives just as Bernier announced he was going to use his Taser on the Bolton man, the video shows.

No one else in the surrounding area was injured and there was no threat to the public, state police said.

The Office of the Inspector General is being assisted by the Rockville State’s Attorney, detectives from the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad and Troop K in the investigation.

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