The driver of stolen car was shot and killed by a Bridgeport police officer following a chase and a confrontation Tuesday night in which the driver hit another officer, state police said.
Officers tried to stop the car on Park Avenue about 5 p.m., but the driver kept going, leading the officers on a brief chase, traveling the wrong way on Fairfield Avenue and hitting several other cars, police said.
Eventually the the car stopped, and as officers approached and tried to take the driver into custody, the driver sped in reverse and hit one of the officers, pinning him beneath the car, police officials said. A second officer opened fire, hitting both the driver and a front-seat passenger were hit, state police said. They did not say how many rounds were fired.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, and the passenger suffered non-life threatening injures and was taken to a hospital, police said.
Both officers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, state police said.
Western District Major Crime Squad detectives responded at the request of the Chief State’s Attorney’s office and took over the investigation. An autopsy of the driver will be conducted by the office of the chief medical examiner. The driver has yet to be identified by state police.
Rumors were going around the Stratford school system that the driver killed in the crash was a student, officials said.
“The driver of the vehicle that was shot the students believe is one of our students,” Superintendent Janet Robinson said. “I have no confirmation.”
She said she sent a note out to parents that this was rumor was going around the school system to make them aware that their child might have heard it.
Crisis intervention teams were also in place, she said.
“Whether it turns out to be a student or not we have students who beleive it is,” Robinson said. “We have students that are grieving so we need to provide them help with that.”
Not long after the shooting, protesters from several towns gathered at the scene.
Bishop John Selders of Hartford said he and other members of Moral Monday CT headed to Bridgeport just after 8 p.m. to join what he called a rally over the shooting.
At about 10:30 p.m., he said there were at least 35 people protesting at the scene in the belief that the man who was shot was unarmed. Police did not release any details of the incident, including whether the car’s driver had a weapon.
Selders also said that protestors believe a video of the shooting was posted to Facebook and then removed from the site.
“We got in the car to be a witness and to come in solidarity with the community that’s asking questions,” he said.
Another rally was tentatively planned at 6 p.m. near the scene of the crime.
This is the second time an officer shot a teen in the city in recent weeks. In late March, 18-year-old Austin Carr was shot during an altercation with detectives and two armed suspects.
State police are also handling that investigation. They never identified the officers involved.
Following Tuesday night’s shooting, David McGuire, the executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut released a statement calling for authorities and lawmakers to come together for meaningful police reform.
“Police have killed another person in Connecticut, and another community is struggling to receive answers about what happened. How many people have to die or be seriously injured at the hands of law enforcement before Connecticut strengthens its laws to hold police accountable to the communities they are supposed to serve?,” McGuire said.
“The Bridgeport community deserves a swift, thorough, and transparent account of what happened and an equally comprehensive and independent investigation,” he said. “None of the answers provided by that investigation will bring back the life lost last night, but our state must find a solution to prevent this from happening again.”
Courant Staff Writer Rebecca Lurye contributed to this story.
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