Tolland State’s Attorney Releases Video Recordings of Officer-Involved Shooting in Hartford
On Friday, July 26, 2019, at approximately 9:17 p.m., officers from the Hartford Police Department attempted to pull over a vehicle near Park Terrace during a criminal investigation. The suspect vehicle fled. The officers followed the vehicle to the area of the westbound on-ramp to Interstate 84 from Capitol Avenue. The vehicle came to a stop due to traffic resulting from construction under way in the area on I-84 and deployment of “Stop Sticks” by the police. Once stopped, Hartford officers approached the vehicle on foot. The only passenger in the vehicle immediately exited and surrendered to police. This is an ongoing investigation. At this early stage, the facts and circumstances of why this vehicle was stopped have yet to be determined.
The driver of the vehicle engaged in a struggle with officers. During the struggle, the driver gained control of one of the officer’s department-issued firearm. Another Hartford Police detective then fired multiple rounds at the driver. The shots were fatal. A separate firearm was also located on the floor on the suspect’s vehicle. This firearm, a 9mm weapon loaded with 16 rounds, was subsequently determined to have been reported stolen out of Springfield, Massachusetts.
Inspectors from the Office of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Hartford responded to the scene and assisted in the early phases of the investigation. Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane, per Section 51-277a of the Connecticut General Statutes, assigned the use of force investigation to State’s Attorney Matthew C. Gedansky from the Judicial District of Tolland. State’s Attorney Gedansky and an Inspector from his office responded to the scene.
The State’s Attorney extends his condolences to Mr. Zaporta’s family. The investigation is in its early stages and it is not possible to predict at this time how long it will take to complete. Additional information will be provided when appropriate. This will be a thorough and comprehensive investigation to allow the State’s Attorney to determine whether the use of force resulting in the death of Mr. Zaporta was justified under the applicable law.
Connecticut State Police Colonel Stavros Mellekas assigned the Eastern District Major Crime Squad (EDMCS) to assume the investigation. EDMCS detectives processed the scene, began to identify witnesses, and seized items of evidentiary value.
On July 28, 2019, an autopsy was conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington. The deceased has been identified as Alphonso Zaporta, age 41, whose last known address was in Windsor. Additional testing and findings are pending with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Notification to the family of the deceased has been made.
The Hartford police officer who fired the shots has been identified as Detective Zack Sherry. Detective Sherry is assigned to the Vice/Intelligence/Narcotics Division and United States Marshal’s Violent Fugitive Task Force. Detective Sherry has been a Hartford police officer for 14 years, and per policy was placed on paid administrative leave following the incident.
The Hartford Police Department and Mayor Luke Bronin of the City of Hartford are cooperating with the investigation. The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Division of Scientific Services is also assisting the investigation.
State’s Attorney Gedansky today released to the news media video depicting the incident as recorded by body cameras worn by officers responding to the incident. The video has been edited out of respect for Mr. Zaporta and his family, but the material being released does capture the portions of the incident pertinent to the investigation into the use of deadly force. It also must be noted that the operating system utilized by the body cameras worn by Hartford police allows no recall of audio for the first one minute of each video recording.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad at 860-896-3230.