New Haven Officer Justified in Use of Force in January Shooting: State's Attorney

The New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office has determined a New Haven officer who shot a suspect during a foot chase in New Haven in January was justified in his use of force.

According to the report released Friday, on January 8 Detective Francisco Sanchez was working on an investigation with a group of undercover officers from the intel unit and shooting task force trying to arrest Marcus Rivera, who had an outstanding arrest warrant.

The team spotted Rivera on Kimberly Avenue and watched him enter a gas station. When officers approached, he ran.

Sanchez told investigators he followed Rivera on foot and that Rivera refused to stop despite commands. He said he drew his gun based on information he had about the suspect.

“I ordered Rivera to stop running and show me his hands. Based on the information I received from the CTIC Officer Safety bulletin and the investigation regarding the incident on December 19, 2018, I drew my department issued firearm. Rivera looked back to see where I was as I pursued him. As I grew closer to Rivera I continued to order him to stop running and show me his hands,” Sanchez wrote in his statement to investigators.

Sanchez got close enough to struggle with Rivera, but the suspect managed to get free. In a statement to investigators, Sanchez said at one point he got in front of Rivera on Greenwich Avenue near 1st Street, at which point the suspect pointed a gun at him.

Both Sanchez and Rivera fired, according to the report. Rivera was shot and continued to flee.

Rivera was captured near 340 Howard Avenue and taken to the hospital for treatment. He recovered from his injury.

The report states that surveillance footage shows Rivera throwing a gun into a backyard on Howard Avenue.

The state’s attorney said after review that Sanchez was justified in using force since he believed it was necessary to defend himself when Rivera pulled the gun.

“Detective Sanchez was confronted with an armed subject determined to avoid apprehension who aimed a firearm at the officer, and ultimately fired upon the officer. Detective Sanchez was justified in his actions based upon his reasonable belief that the use of such force was necessary to defend himself and others from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force,” the report said.

Rivera faces multiple charges in connection with the incident.

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