Pastors are calling on the state to ask the U.S. Attorney rather than a state's attorney to conduct the investigation into the fatal state police shooting in West Haven on Wednesday night.
Police said 19-year-old Mubarak Soulemane, of New Haven, was shot and killed by a Connecticut State Police trooper in West Haven during what started as an investigation into a reported carjacking in Norwalk.
“What we are asking for is that the U.S. attorney will investigate this incident,” said Rev. Boise Kimber.
“We call on the state to assign a different police agency to investigate this case, because the state police cannot and should not be left to investigate themselves,” added Scot X. Esdaile, president of the NAACP of Connecticut.
According to police, Norwalk police officers responded to a report of an armed carjacking in their city around 4:36 p.m. Norwalk police noted in their BOLO that the driver was armed with a knife.
State troopers responded when they received reports that the suspect vehicle, a white Hyundai, was driving recklessly on Interstate 95 North. Police noted that State Police Pursuit policy allows for the pursuit of a stolen vehicle if the person in the vehicle “has committed, is attempting to commit or will imminently commit a crime of violence (actual or threatened), or there are articulable exigent circumstances that warrant the need to apprehend the suspect in a timely manner because of the potential for harm to the public if apprehension does not occur.”
During the chase, the suspect vehicle hit two state police cruisers before exiting off the highway onto Campbell Avenue in West Haven. According to police, the suspect then struck a civilian’s vehicle before being boxed in by State police.
State police and West Haven police tried to get the driver out of the car, first using a stun-gun, which did not work. When the driver showed a weapon, a trooper at the scene fired his gun, hitting the driver. The weapon, a knife, was recovered from the vehicle, police said.
The driver, later identified as Soulemane, was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital where he died of his injuries.
No other injuries were reported.
The troopers involved in the incident have been identified as Trooper Brian North, who has been with the department for 4 and a half years, Trooper Joshua Jackson, who has also been with the department 4 and a half years, and Trooper First Class Ross Dalling, who has been with the department for 7 and a half years.
Police said North was the only one to fire his weapon. He has been placed on administrative assignment, per department policy.
Rev. Boise Kimber said during the news conference that Soulemane's mother was away in Africa when her son was shot and she is returning to the United States.
Soulemane's brother and uncle spoke during the news conference.
“I don't know how to feel at this moment. I just feel like it's definitely injustice,” said Saeed Soulemane, Soulemane's older brother.
They said they contacted police to say Soulemane was missing.
He says his brother left their house Tuesday. Saeed tried calling Mubarak, who didn’t call back.
“I was really concerned. I was calling him, I was telling him to come back to the house, he never came back,” said Saeed.
Saeed said he called police to let them know his brother was missing, and he said he told them that his brother has schizophrenia. He said his brother’s mental health was known to police and that he does not have a violent past.
He graduated from Notre Dame Fairfield, was in his second year at Gateway Community College and was working toward attending Roger Williams, according to family.
The troopers were wearing body cameras and had dash cameras in their vehicles. Authorities said they intend to release the footage to the public in the coming days.
“Transparency and accountability in law enforcement has been our most critical goal since my appointment. Never is this more crucial than during the period immediately following a police involved shooting, especially when there is a loss of life. Governor Ned Lamont signed into a law a measure that ensures the public has body camera and dash cam video within 96 hours of the use of deadly force, a measure I supported in my role as Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). DESPP staff is working to get the video and much more info out to the community well ahead of the 96 hour mandate. We hope that the release of the information provides the transparency and some of the answers our community deserves.” James C. Rovella, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, said in a statement on Facebook.
The Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad and New London State’s Attorney’s Office are handling the investigation. Anyone who witnessed the incident or with information is encouraged to contact Connecticut State Police at 860-706-5656.
Editor's note: Police previously identified the teen as Soulemane Murbarak. The family said his name is Mubarak Soulemane.