Waterbury Police Arrest Suspect After Violent Struggle on City Street

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Waterbury police arrested a man Thursday afternoon while investigating a report of a man loading a firearm and causing a disturbance.

Police said the man was found with a loaded gun and the suspect and a police officer were both taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries.

Police officers assigned to the Waterbury Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit were patrolling downtown when officers received an anonymous complaint about a disturbance at West Main and Leavenworth streets around 3:30 p.m., police said.

They found a 37-year-old Waterbury man nearby who matched the description and he was also a suspect involved in two recent shots fired incidents in the city.

Officers approached him to investigate the weapons complaint and police said he immediately became uncooperative and physically combative, refused verbal commands to show his hands and resisted officers’ efforts to take him into custody.

Police said the suspect kept trying to put his hands in his waistband area while resisting the officers.

Police body camera video and other video showed the confrontation between the officers and the suspect.

Two of the officers appeared to use closed fists to strike the suspect. One officer struck the suspect in the face and the other struck him in the legs, the video showed.

When they took him into custody, they found a loaded Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol tucked in his waistband, police said.

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said Friday the officers did not violate any department policies and that they used the appropriate amount of force to get control of the situation.

The suspect was identified as 37-year-old James Thomas, of Waterbury.

Police said they also found a high-capacity magazine containing 11 rounds of ammunition and an additional high capacity magazine containing 30 rounds of ammunition.

Thomas also had 1,458 bags of heroin along with 140 grams of raw heroin, police said.

He was provided medical treatment at the scene for sustained injuries and was transported to Saint Mary’s Hospital for further treatment and evaluation of his injuries.

One of the involved officers in the incident was also injured while taking the man into police custody and he has since been treated and released from Saint Mary’s Hospital, police said.

Police said Thomas did not have a valid Connecticut pistol permit and had a previous conviction for third-degree assault.

He was charged with breach of in the second peace in the second degree, interfering with police, criminal possession of a pistol, criminal possession of a firearm, illegal sale/transfer of a pistol, possession of a large-capacity magazine and possession of an ounce or more of heroin.

Police said he's being charged with assault on a police officer. He's being held on a $1.4 million bond.

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