New Haven Man Pleads Guilty to His Role in Hamden Food Store Shootout with Police in 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(New Haven, CT) - Patrick J. Griffin, New Haven State’s Attorney, announced that Kwaun Cole, age 34, of New Haven, pleaded guilty today before the Honorable Gerald L. Harmon to one count each of Criminal Attempt To Commit Assault In The First Degree, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes §§ 53a-49(a)(2) and 53a-59(a)(1), Robbery In The First Degree, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-134(a)(2), and Criminal Possession Of A Firearm in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-217(a)(1). Cole, a multiple convicted felon with previous convictions for robbery and assault, is represented in this case by Attorney Paul Carty. Sentencing is scheduled for July 12, 2021.
Kwaun Cole's guilty plea on the third day of jury selection in Superior Court in New Haven stems from an incident on January 24, 2018, when at approximately 9:09 p.m., he entered the Krauszer’s Food Store, located at 1959 State Street in the town of Hamden, wearing a mask and armed with a semi-automatic .380 handgun. Cole accosted the store clerk and a customer of the store with the handgun, demanding their compliance as he stole cash from the store’s register and a cell phone from the customer. Before he could make his escape, Cole was confronted by Officer Andrew Pfeiffer of the Hamden Police Department.
Officer Pfeiffer had been flagged down by a witness in the parking lot of the Krauszer’s reporting that the store was in the process of being robbed by a male wearing a mask and armed with a handgun. Officer Pfeiffer called in the robbery in progress over the radio and proceeded to the front door of the store. As he approached, Officer Pfeiffer observed a male with his hands in the air. Based upon information provided by the witness, Officer Pfeiffer believed the store clerk was being held at gunpoint and was in imminent danger.
Officer Pfeiffer immediately entered the store and confronted the masked robber, later identified as Cole, ordering him to show his hands. In response, Cole ducked down behind store shelving, pointed a handgun at the officer, and fired a shot. As Officer Pfeiffer tactically retreated from the interior of the store seeking cover, Cole appeared at the front door of the store, exchanging gunfire with the officer. Cole exited the front door of the store firing his handgun as Officer Pfeiffer continued to seek cover. When Officer Pfeiffer returned fire, Cole went back inside, later emerging from an emergency side door running toward Pfeiffer’s position. As Officer Pfeiffer fired upon him, Cole fled alongside the building, disappearing from the officer’s sight.
After a description of the suspect was radioed to other officers, Cole was discovered hiding under a vehicle in the driveway of 1825 State Street. He was found to be suffering from injuries to his right hand and fingers and had a “through and through” gunshot wound to his torso. Cole was transported to Yale New Haven Hospital where he was treated and released.
Subsequent investigation by the Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad and the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office established that Officer Pfeiffer’s use of force in defense of himself and others in the store during this incident was justified. Forensic ballistic evidence determined that, in total, Cole fired six shots from a Highpoint .380 pistol at Officer Pfeiffer.
State’s Attorney Griffin commended both the restraint and bravery exhibited by Officer Andrew Pfeiffer on the night of the incident. He thanks the Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad for their investigative efforts, as well as Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Lisa D’Angelo who prosecuted the case along with State's Attorney Griffin.