BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — Two police officers shot dead in Bristol, Connecticut, were apparently lured to a home by an emergency call about possible domestic violence between two brothers, authorities said Thursday.
Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould identified Sgt. Dustin DeMonte, 35, and Officer Alex Hamzy, 34, as the officers who were killed Wednesday night. Officer Alec Iurato, 26, was wounded and underwent surgery at a hospital in Hartford. He has since been released.
State police Sgt. Christine Jeltema said the officers were responding to a report of domestic violence at about 10:30 p.m. when they encountered someone outside the house and shots were fired. State police said in a release that the 911 call appears to have been “a deliberate act to lure law enforcement to the scene.”
Sources close to the investigation confirmed to News 2’s sister station, WTNH, that the suspects used an AR-15-style firearm in the shooting. Those sources also told WTNH that 14 guns were seized from the home during the investigation.
Hamzy was pronounced dead on the scene. DeMonte was later pronounced dead at Bristol Hospital. A procession led their bodies to the state medical examiner’s office in Farmington.
State police said the suspect, 35-year-old Nicholas Brutcher, was shot and pronounced dead at the scene. His brother, Nathan Brutcher, 32, was also shot and taken to St. Francis Hospital for treatment of his wounds. His condition was not immediately known.
Police haven’t yet said who opened fire, who fired the fatal shots, or how many guns were fired in all.
Witnesses said they heard 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.
DeMonte, a 10-year veteran of the department who was assigned to the patrol division, was a co-recipient of his department’s 2019 Officer of the Year award. He and his wife were expecting their third child, Gould said.
Hamzy, an eight-year veteran of the department, was also assigned to the patrol division. He is survived by his wife and parents.
“The outpouring of love, support and prayers from so many is deeply appreciated,” Hamzy’s family said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.
Both men were advisors to a police cadet program.
The injured officer, Iurato, is a four-year veteran of the department and a member of the patrol division.
“We need your thoughts. We need your prayers.”
“We lost two exceptional Bristol police officers, and a third was seriously injured as a result of senseless violence,” Gould said at a news conference. “We need your thoughts. We need your prayers.”
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Jeltema said this was an isolated incident, and there is no threat to the public.
“This is a very complex, ongoing investigation led by detectives from the Connecticut State
Police Major Crimes Unit, at the request of the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney,” a statement issued by state police read. “Connecticut State Police and municipal police agencies are offering mutual aid to Bristol Police; residents may see neighboring agencies covering patrol functions as the Bristol Police Department begins to process this extraordinary loss.”
In a statement, the Connecticut State Police Union said they hope to “provide the comfort and support necessary to make a difference for everyone affected by this cowardly act of violence”
“Officer Hamzy and Sergeant DeMonte responded to this call for service with bravery and were
senselessly ambushed for simply protecting and defending others,” the union’s statement read. “These officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep their community safe and made the ultimate sacrifice. All of Connecticut should pause to support and remember these brave officers and their families.”
Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) directed flags in the state to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the officers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.