The Hartford State's Attorney's Office is leading the investigation into a police-involved shooting in Wethersfield after a teenager suspected of trying to hit a police officer with his vehicle over the weekend died.
Connecticut State Police said Monday that the teen, 18-year-old Anthony Jose Vega Cruz, died of his injuries at the hospital.
Members of the community rallied outside of the Wethersfield Police Department on Monday after the second police-involved shooting in the state in a matter of days.
There were some tense moments as the Wethersfield Police chief met with protesters, including some family members of the man who was shot, Monday.
Police offered their sympathies but deferred answering questions about the case because it’s handed off to state authorities.
“This was a very serious incident that occurred in our community. The Wethersfield police department has turned the investigation over to the state police for a thorough inquiry,” Wethersfield mayor Amy Morrin Bello said in a statement.
Connecticut State Police are piecing together what led to a Wethersfield Police officer opening fire in the area of Silas Deane Highway and Maple Street on Saturday.
On Tuesday, the Hartford State's Attorney's Office began leading the investigation. Connecticut State Police are assisting.
"With the unfortunate passing of Mr. Vega Cruz, the case has been assigned to my office in accordance with state statutes governing the investigation into the use of force resulting in death, which provide that the investigation be assigned to a State's Attorney from a judicial district other than where the incident occurred," said Hartford State's Attorney Gail Hardy in a statement.
Hardy said she is in the process of speaking to Connecticut State Police to get contact information for Mr. Vega Cruz's family and to get an update about what the police have learned and still need to do in the investigation.
"It is my intent to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation. I understand and respect the public’s desire to view any video evidence. I must balance the needs of the investigation with the public’s right to know what happened and I intend to disclose those videos as soon as I can determine that disclosure will not interfere with the investigation," said Hardy added.
Troopers said Cruz and his passenger, 18-year-old Stephanie Santiago, were in a car that two Wethersfield police officers were trying to pull over when there was a collision between the suspect’s vehicle and one of the cruisers.
State police said an officer got out of his cruiser and the suspect’s car drove toward him. Detectives say that’s when the officer fired.
Investigators said Cruz died of his injuries at the hospital. Santiago was not hurt.
“There are lots of questions and we will not stop until we get some answers,” said Bishop John Selders of the group Moral Monday CT.
Wethersfield police said their officers are not equipped with body cameras.
Connecticut State Police have said they expect to release more information later in the week.