New Haven Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for 2018 Hamden Convenience Store Shootout with Police
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(New Haven, CT) - Patrick J. Griffin, New Haven State’s Attorney, announced that Kwaun Cole, age 34, of New Haven, was sentenced today by the Honorable Gerald L. Harmon to twenty (20) years’ incarceration, followed by five (5) years of special parole, for his role in a 2018 nighttime shootout with Hamden police following an interrupted convenience store robbery. In conjunction with Cole’s sentencing, State’s Attorney Griffin has released video footage from the body-worn camera of Hamden Police Officer Andrew Pfeiffer, as well as from an in-store video-surveillance camera, which captured the robbery response and exchange of gunfire.
Kwaun Cole is a multiple convicted felon with previous convictions for robbery and assault. On June 3, 2021, while in the process of selecting a jury for his scheduled criminal trial, Cole changed course and instead elected to plead guilty 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). As a result of that guilty plea, Cole was sentenced today to 20 years’ incarceration on the attempted assault charge, 20 years’ incarceration on the robbery charge, and 5 years’ incarceration to be followed by 5 years of special parole on the illegal possession of a firearm charge. All sentences are to be served concurrently, for a total effective sentence of 20 years’ incarceration, followed by 5 years of special parole. He was represented in this case by Attorney Paul Carty.
Cole’s conviction 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 Hi-Point .380 pistol at Officer Pfeiffer.
State’s Attorney Griffin noted that the lengthy sentence imposed was reflective of the serious nature of the crime and the danger that Cole posed to the Greater New Haven Community, and again praised the bravery and restraint exhibited by Officer Pfeiffer, as borne out by the video footage.