A female Hartford police officer who was stabbed several times in the neck while responding to assist during an eviction process at an apartment building on Thursday morning has opened her eyes and is alert, according to police.
The officer, Jill Kidik, a 12-year-veteran, remains in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit at Hartford Hospital. Police said she was surrounded by family and friends when she opened her eyes and she is staying strong.
Police have identified the suspect as 39-year-old Chevoughn Augustin, a resident of the ninth floor of the building, according to police. She is charged with criminal attempted murder, first-degree assault, assault on a police officer, and third-degree criminal mischief.
Hartford Police Chief David Rosado said police were called at 9:48 a.m. Thursday to assist with a landlord-tenant dispute at the apartment building at 5 Constitution Plaza in Hartford. There were no initial reports of a weapon and two officers were dispatched to respond.
“From there, the situation went awry,” Rosado said.
Police said the landlord-tenant dispute was over an eviction process. Kidik was the first at the scene and she tried to talk the resident, later identified as Augustin, into leaving the building.
Kidik was attempting to put Augustin in handcuffs when a struggle ensued and Augustin knocked Kidik to the ground, grabbed a large ceramic kitchen knife, put the officer in a chokehold and stabbed the officer in the neck, according to police.
Some maintenance workers heard the struggle and rushed to Kidik's aid. Police said if it was not for those workers, the officer would have been killed.
“The maintenance workers were able to pull her off and subdue her,” Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said.
Foley said those maintenance workers who rushed in to help Kidik are "heroes."
Other officers responded to the scene took Augustin into custody. She was taken to the hospital to be treated for a cut to her hand then released to police custody.
Augustin, who has a son and a 3-month-old grandchild, appeared in court Friday and she is being held on $2 million bond. Her attorney tried to lower the bond to $500,000, but the judge denied it.
She is due back in court on June 5.
Kidik suffered severe, life-altering injuries, according to police.
“We ask the entire Hartford community to keep the officer in their thoughts and prayers,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said in a statement.
Kidik is a decorated officer who was recognized in 2016 for saving a 1-year-old baby's life in 2015. She was bestowed the Hartford Police Department's Lifesaving Award for rescuing the baby.
Kidik is a 2002 graduate of Wellesley High School in Massachusetts. Her family still lives in Wellesley and their neighbors were heartbroken to learn what happened to their daughter.
“It’s terrible, just terrible,” John Luniewicz. “They’re such a nice family. I just don’t understand. People should appreciate cops.”
Wellesley police said they have reached out to offer support to the Hartford department and are happy to hear officer Kidik has made progress in the hospital.
“We will keep pulling for her full and speedy recovery,” Lt. Marie Cleary of the Wellesley Police Department said in an email.
Police issued a warning on Thursday afternoon that any solicitation for donations on behalf of Kidik is likely a scam because no Hartford police organization is actively seeking donations for her.
The Hartford police major crimes division had the scene at the apartment building at 5 Constitution Plaza locked down and police said residents would be impacted all day.
Officials from the Connecticut State's Attorney's Office also responded to the scene and Connecticut state police said they are assisting Hartford Police.
Jeff Ravetz and Joseph Klaynberg, the owners of 5 Constitution Plaza, released the following statement:
“Our heartfelt wishes and prayers are with the police officer and her family at this time. We wish her a speedy and full recovery. We are also very proud of our staff who, at great risk to themselves, interceded and ended this awful attack. The safety and security of our tenants remains our top priority. We are working with the local authorities to assist in the investigation in any way that we can."