Exclusive: Family Of Loss Prevention Officer Shot at Manchester Mall Speaks Out

Tirsol Polanco's sister said he is recuperating after two surgeries, surrounded by all of his family.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Three days after the shooting at the Shoppes at Buckland Hills in Manchester, the Macy’s loss prevention officer who was shot in the stomach is recovering in an intensive care unit. Tirsol Polanco, 27, of Bloomfield, is surrounded by family and his sister spoke exclusively to NBC Connecticut.

The suspect in the shooting, Richard “Rico” LaPlante, appeared in Manchester Superior Court. LaPlante remains in custody on a $1 million bond.

Polanco’s sister, Warkina Polanco, said his parents, siblings, girlfriend and kids are all by his side in the ICU at Hartford Hospital. She said they are shocked that this shooting happened to their loved one.

“You see these things happening in the news, and you only go feel sad about the family or how they going through, but you never had in mind that you will probably in life go to something like this. You're never prepared for something like this,” Warkina Polanco, said.

The 27-year-old Bloomfield dad was in critical condition Saturday, according to an arrest warrant. His sister said Monday that he is recovering from surgery.

“He's still on the ventilator,” Warkina Polanco said. “The only way he is communicating we have is by basically sign language and then texting.”

She said the whole family is reeling, including his little daughters who are just 6 and 1.

“It's hard for them because they asked ‘Where's Daddy? Where's my dad? So it's hard like to answer that,” Warkina Polanco said.

LaPlante, 30, from Windsor, appeared before a judge in Manchester Superior Court Monday. He faces four criminal charges, including attempted murder.

“We're praying for the victim, we hope that the victim is OK. And we praying for his family. The most important thing is, let the judicial process go through this process,” Ronald Johnson, LaPlante’s defense attorney, said.

An arrest warrant for LaPlante lays out new details about what happened before the shooting, stating the suspect was seen shoplifting Friday.

When two loss prevention officers confronted him, he pulled out a silver handgun, according to the warrant. The documents state the second loss prevention officer witnessed Polanco and LaPlante struggling for the gun, until the suspect shot Polanco at close-range in the abdomen, before fleeing.

“We always knew that his job was kind of danger because he was you know, dealing with people that are shoplifting,” Warkina Polanca said. “But it never crossed our mind it will be something major like this.”

LaPlante evaded police until Saturday night when he was identified in photos and turned himself in.

Now Tirsol Polanco faces a long road to recovery. The warrant says several of his organs were damaged and he will need multiple surgeries.

“It's just sad that somebody's doing their job and had to go through this situation,” Warkina Polanco said. “It's been really hard. It's been crazy days. It's been days with no sleep, so I don't wish this to nobody.”

LaPlante’s case is being transferred to Hartford. He is due in court again on Sept. 7.

Mall management did not respond to requests for comment.

After releasing a statement Friday, saying that the safety of Macy’s customers and colleagues is a top priority, Macy’s is now deferring all questions to local police.

Contact Us