Officer Found Justified in Shooting of Stabbing Suspect

Bridgeport police cruiser
NBC Connecticut

A Bridgeport police officer was justified in the non-fatal shooting of a man who was stabbing another person in 2020, the state inspector general ruled Friday.

Officer Eliud Henry tried verbal commands and used his stun gun on the man, but they had no effect before Henry fired a single shot that struck the suspect on the right side of his torso, according to the report by Inspector General Robert Devlin Jr. The shooting was recorded by police body cameras.

The man, Juan Villa, then 27, survived and was charged with attempted murder, home invasion and other crimes. Villa has pleaded not guilty and remains detained on $250,000 bail. A message seeking comment was left with his lawyer Friday.

The other man who police say was stabbed by Villa also survived. He told police Villa kicked in his room door in the multifamily home in the early morning hours of Sept. 16 and began stabbing him with a piece of glass.

Villa left and the man went to a bathroom to check his wounds, he said. Villa then returned with a butcher’s knife and began attacking him again, he told police. Officers were called to the home on a report that Villa was breaking things and appeared to be having mental health problems. It’s not clear why Villa attacked the man.

“The investigation establishes that Officer Henry used deadly force against Juan Villa to stop Villa’s active knife attack,” Devlin wrote in his report. “I therefore conclude that such use of force was justified under Connecticut law.”

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