New Britain Officers Show Support As Assault Suspect Is Arraigned

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    More than 100 officers filled a courtroom as suspect in attempted murder of an officer appeared on Friday. (Published Friday, Jan 24, 2014)

    More than 100 police officers were in court on Friday as a man suspected in a serious assault on a New Britain police officer was arraigned.

    Jaheem Snype, 19,is accused of striking New Britain police officer Brett Morgan with a stolen car and dragging him across the pavement on Sunday.

    Most of the officers in court were from the New Britain Police Department.

    "This is for Officer Morgan," Chief James Wardwell said outside the courthouse, after the proceedings. 

    Snype was taken into custody at an apartment in Barton, Vt., close to the Canadian border, shortly before 8 p.m. on Wednesday, New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said during a news conference last night. On Thursday, he was extradited to Connecticut.

    According to court documents, Snype confessed to the crime during an interview with officers right after he was caught.

    He's charged as a fugitive from justice in Vermont and appeared in court today. Snype waived extradition and was transported to Connecticut, where he faces two arrest warrants.

    The first warrant, issued on Monday, charges Snype with second-degree larceny in connection with the car theft. The second warrant, which was issued on Wednesday, charges him with criminal attempt to commit murder, first-degree assault and assault on a police officer.

    John Morgan, Officer Morgan's brother, delivered a powerful statement outside court.

    "During this difficult time, we can't help but still see the positives that occurred throughout. The support we've received and continue to receive from friends, family, staff at Saint Francis Hospital and the amazing officers of the New Britain Police Department has surpassed any of our expectations. To our friends and family, we want to thank you for your support and prayers during this difficult time.  We know without a doubt they have been heard and answered.  To all of the hardworking officers that were involved in this case, particularly those in the New Britain Police Department and Hartford Police Department, we are forever in your debt.  You manage to restore justice and peace to our family during a time filled with such grief and chaos.  We are truly thankful to all of you.  You are all heroes in our book," John Morgan said.

    Snype is being held on a $1 million bond and arrived back in Connecticut around 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

    It's not clear whether he was attempting to flee the country but Wardwell said he was "certainly getting as far as he could from New Britain, Conn."

    Snype's half-brother, Frankie Gonzalez, is also charged as a fugitive from justice and was arrested after four New Britain police encountered him in Vermont, authorities said.

    Police said Gonzalez admitted his involvement in the Sunday night incident and is accused of helping Snype to get away.

    Gonzalez, who is from Vermont, also waived extradition in court on Thursday and was brought him back to Connecticut, where he will be formally charged with hindering prosecution and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

    Gonzalez's bond is set at $200,000.

    The assault on New Britain Police Officer James Morgan occurred Sunday night after Snype reportedly stole a blue 2011 Hyundai Sonata around 10 p.m.

    Court documents state that Snype knew the owner of the stolen car, identified as Calvin Joiner.

    Joiner told officers he knew Snype under the nickname of "Long Hair" and had previously purchased drugs from him, according to court records.

    Officer Morgan was dispatched to the area of North and Willow streets to investigate. Less than half an hour later, he found the car in the rear of 56 Wilcox Street and approached, according to police.

    That's when Snype allegedly ran over Morgan, dragged him 100 feet across the pavement and sped off, leaving him badly injured in the middle of the street, police said.

    According to court records, two New Britain High School students were in the car with Snype at the time of the assault.

    One told police, "she last saw the officer on the hood of the vehicle crying and screaming for Jaheem to stop but Jaheem would not stop," according to court paperwork.

    Morgan was in stable condition Monday night after undergoing a nine-hour surgery. Police said Morgan faces several additional surgeries, but doctors believe he will make a full recovery.

    He joined the New Britain Police Department in March 2013 after two years with the Northampton, Mass. police, authorities said.

    Police eventually found the stolen vehicle on Sandy Brook Drive in New Britain, seized it as evidence and officers went door-to-door to investigate.

    As police investigated, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart visited Morgan's family in the hospital.

    She issued the following statement after Snype and Gonzalez were arrested on Wednesday night:

    “After a three-day manhunt led by the New Britain Police Department, with the full support of local and state law enforcement agencies, the people of the City of New Britain can sleep a bit easier tonight knowing that Jaheem Snype has been apprehended. I cannot speak highly enough about the work of Chief James Wardwell and his entire department, and I offer the City’s sincere thanks and appreciation for the assistance provided by the Hartford Police Department and the Vermont State Police in this capture. It is my hope that the coordinated, interstate response and tireless pursuit of this suspect will send a clear message that those who do violence against our law enforcement personnel will be brought to swift and harsh justice.

    "I continue to ask that City residents keep Officer Brett Morgan, his wife and family, in their thoughts prayers as he continues the long road of recovery, and God bless all our public safety personnel.”

    Snype and Gonzalez are due back in court on Feb. 26.

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