Report of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Tolland Concerning the Use of Deadly Force by Vernon Police Officers Resulting in the Death of William Kennan in Rockville on June 3, 2001
August 8, 2002
Introduction |Summary of Evidence | Eyewitnesses | Autopsy Summary | Physical Evidence and Reconstruction | Law Regarding Use of Deadly Force by Peace Officers | Findings of Fact | Conclusion
This report concerning the events surrounding tragic death of Mr. William Kennan would not have been possible without the hard work and assistance of many. I would like to particularly acknowledge the assistance of Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Matthew Gedansky who played a major role in the critical early weeks of the investigation, prior to my appointment as State's Attorney. Inspector's Diane Davis-Morianos and Bart Zamichiei of the Office of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Tolland, the men and women of the Connecticut State Police, Eastern District Major Crime Squad, Dr. Henry Lee, Major Timothy Palmbach and all of those who work with them in the Connecticut State Police Forensic Sciences Laboratory all played major roles in assuring that a thorough investigation was conducted and all avenues were pursued. I would also like to thank the men and women of the Vernon Police Department. At all times they were completely cooperative and provided any and all information that was requested of them during a trying time.
I also wish to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. William Kennan on the tragic loss of a husband, father , brother and friend.
Paul E. Murray
Shortly after 4:20 PM on Sunday, June 3, 2001, Officers David Hatheway and Gary Jonas, while on duty as police officers with the Vernon Police Department, shot and killed William Keenan in the area of 871/2 Union Street in the Rockville section of the Town of Vernon. Section 51-277a of the General Statutes provides that the Division of Criminal Justice shall investigate and determine whether the use of deadly force was appropriate under section 53a-22 of the General Statutes.
The Office of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Tolland was notified almost immediately of this incident and personnel responded to the scene. The State's Attorney's Office immediately requested the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad to conduct the investigation under the direction of this office and they responded to the scene. The Vernon Police Department initially secured the scene pending the arrival of the Major Crime Squad and then relinquished the investigation to them. The Vernon Police Department remained available to provide any necessary assistance and was fully cooperative throughout the process. The Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory was requested to assist in the investigation by conducting a scene reconstruction. The on site portion of the reconstruction was performed on November 19, 2001.
The investigation is concluded and this report is filed pursuant to Section 51-277a(c) of the General Statutes.
On June 3, 2001, at 4:15 p.m. the Vernon Police Department received a telephone call from Physician's Assistant Scott Charnitsky, the on-call physician's assistant for a group of doctors during that weekend. Physician's Assistant Charnitsky reported that he had been paged by his answering service and as a result had called the residence of William Kennan, 87 ½ Union Street, Vernon, Connecticut. During that telephone call Physician's Assistant Charnitsky reported that he had spoken with both William Kennan and his wife, Ellen Kennan. He learned that Mr. Kennan had called the physician's answering service in an attempt to get in touch with his personal physician. During the conversation an attempt was made to evaluate Mr. Kennan.
Mr. Kennan became agitated and began to threaten suicide with the use of a firearm. Physician's Assistant Charnitsky was also able to determine through Mrs. Kennan that there was a collection of swords in the home. As a result of this contact, Physician's Assistant Charnitsky contacted Doctor Raymond Kurker and between them they determined that the police needed to be requested to respond to the Kennan residence. Physician's Assistant Charnitsky then called the Vernon Police Department and explained the situation to the dispatcher. During that conversation Physician's Assistant Charnitsky requested a police response for a thirty-nine year old male who apparently had been drinking all day. He reported that he was getting differing stories from the husband and the wife, including that he apparently had been at Rockville Hospital the prior evening for chest pain. He also reported that the individual had told him that he was not suicidal but didn't want to live. The wife reportedly told him that she did not believe her husband was suicidal at that time but felt that he would be by the end of the day. Significantly, Physician's Assistant Charnitsky reported to the dispatcher that Mr. Kennan had told him that he had loaded weapons in the house, although he also reported that the wife denied that. The ultimate request from Physician's Assistant Charnitsky and Doctor Kurker was that Mr. Kennan be taken to Manchester Hospital for psychological evaluation.
At 4:20 p.m. the dispatcher sends Officer Gary Jonas and David Hatheway to 87 ½ Union Street to see Mr. William Kennan. She advises the officers that there was a telephone call to the police department from the physician's office reporting that Mr. Kennan contacted the physician and told him that he was having chest pains, didn't want to live and had been drinking very heavily. The dispatcher reminded the officers that they had had the same individual several days earlier for chest pain three times in the same day.
At 4:21:24 Officer Hatheway arrives at 87 ½ Union Street. At that time the dispatcher asks him if he wants an ambulance started. Officer Hatheway responds to have the ambulance stand by until they determine what they have.
At 4:21:37 the dispatcher contacts the Tolland Mutual Aid Dispatch Center requesting that an ambulance be dispatched to stand by at 87 ½ Union Street for Mr. William Kennan who was reporting chest pains, heavy drinking and not wanting to live. She further reports that Mr. Kennan wants to go to Manchester Hospital, that he apparently refuses to go to Rockville Hospital. (Footnote 1)
Beginning at 4:22:40 Officer Hatheway reports that Mr. Kennan is in a van in the back of the property. He further reports that Mr. Kennan gets out of the van, has cut himself several times and "wants me to do it". He asks for the response of other officers to be expedited.
At 4:23:50 Officer Hatheway reports that Mr. Kennan is back in the van and that he has cut himself several times.
At 4:25:03 he further reports that Mr. Kennan has barricaded himself inside the van and at that time Officer Jonas is arriving on the scene.
At 4:26:38 a report is broadcast by one of the officers at the scene of shots fired. Multiple transmissions ensue concerning requests for a paramedic to the scene and the need for mutual aid assistance for crowd control.
The total elapsed time from the initial call from Scott Charnitsky to this point is less than twelve minutes.
A. Officer David Hatheway
On June 3rd, 2001, Officer Hatheway reports that he was on routine patrol in the Rockville area of Vernon when officers were dispatched to 87 ½ Union Street for a medical call. Since that was in his primary patrol area, he advised the dispatcher that he would be responding to that location. He was aware at that time that William Kennan was complaining of chest pains and that the police department had responded four times in the past month for similar complaints. Officer Hatheway was familiar with William Kennan and had dealt with him on a number of occasions in the past.
Officer Hatheway advised the dispatcher to dispatch an ambulance but to have them stand by, and he would advise when and if they were needed. He then parked his cruiser in front of 85 Union Street and began to walk towards 87 Union Street. He then walked down the driveway west of 87 Union Street toward the rear residence, which was 87 ½ Union Street. As he walked down the driveway, a young boy of approximately twelve years asked him if he was looking for Billy, which is the name by which people refer to William Kennan. When the officer responded that he was, in fact, looking for Billy, the young man told him that Billy was in his van behind 87 ½ Union Street. The officer noted the number of people sitting on the porch of 91 Union Street, which is just west of 87 and 87 ½ Union Street. He then noticed a van parked directly behind 87 ½ Union Street and as he approached he saw that the side doors on the passenger side were open. William Kennan's wife was standing outside the van near the front passenger door. Mr. Kennan was sitting in the middle row, right seat, directly behind the front passenger seat. He had his arms at his sides, and the officer reported that he could see his right hand but not his left hand.
Officer Hatheway notified the dispatcher that Mr. Kennan was inside the van and provided the dispatcher with the registration number of the van. He continued to walk toward the open side of the van and asked Mr. Kennan's wife what was going on. Mrs. Kennan stated that her husband had been drinking and would not come out of the van. She then turned to her husband and said, "Give it to me". To which the officer heard Mr. Kennan reply, "No, don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you. I wouldn't do that." The officer reported that this conversation struck him as "weird", and he took a step back and asked Mr. Kennan's wife what she wanted her husband to give her. Mrs. Kennan stated that her husband had a knife in his hand. At that point Mr. Kennan brought the knife up with his left hand and rested the side of the blade against his chest.
Officer Hatheway reports that the knife which Mr. Kennan was holding appeared to him to be a "samurai" knife with a long handle, four to five inches long, fancy stitching and a blade of approximately ten to twelve inches in length. Officer Hatheway ordered Mrs. Kennan to go inside her home which she later did. The officer took a few more steps back, placing himself approximately twenty to thirty feet from the van and drew his weapon with his right hand. He raised the weapon toward Mr. Kennan while slowly continuing to back away another six to eight steps and radioing the dispatcher that Mr. Kennan had a knife in his possession. Officer Hatheway requested further assistance to the scene. By this time Officer Hatheway estimates that he was about forty feet from the van but could clearly see Mr. Kennan inside the van still holding the knife. As Officer Hatheway attempted to talk with Mr. Kennan, Mr. Kennan declined to participate in the discussion but continued to sit in the van with the knife against his chest. At this point he looked at Officer Hatheway and, apparently recognizing that the officer had his weapon drawn, looked the officer in the eye and said, "Good, that is what I want, do it!" Officer Hatheway told Mr. Kennan that they could talk about whatever was bothering him, but Mr. Kennan replied, "No, I don't want to talk". Officer Hatheway continued to speak to Mr. Kennan attempting to have him put the knife down and engage in conversation. Mr. Kennan continued to hold the knife and hold it against his chest. He appeared to Officer Hatheway to be very upset and to have a distant stare at times. Mr. Kennan said several times, "You're going to have to do it. I'm not going to do it. Do it!".
Officer Hatheway reports that he continued to try to discuss the issues with Mr. Kennan in a calming voice in an attempt to diffuse the situation, but he could not get Mr. Kennan to listen to him or to follow his directions to put the knife down. After a short time Officer Hatheway reports that Mr. Kennan lifted his t-shirt and put the knife blade against the side of his chest. He pushed the knife against his chest and cut himself on one side of his chest to the other. The officer could see a white line being formed on his chest as Mr. Kennan dragged the knife across it. Officer Hatheway reports that he notified the dispatcher that Mr. Kennan was cutting himself with the knife. Officer Hatheway took a few more steps backwards and continued to shout verbal commands to Mr. Kennan to drop the knife.
After the first self-inflicted cut, Mr. Kennan took a few deep breaths and cut himself again from one side of the chest to the other directly beneath the first cut. Officer Hatheway told Mr. Kennan that there was help for him and to drop the knife now. After making the second cut, Mr. Kennan looked at Officer Hatheway and jumped out of his seat holding the knife in his hand and walking toward the officer with the end of the knife pointed at the officer. Officer Hatheway continued to aim his weapon at Mr. Kennan and then shouted at him to drop the knife. Mr. Kennan would not drop the knife and began to shout words to the effect that, "I'm not going to do it. You do it! Do it!".
Mr. Kennan continued to walk at a normal walking pace toward Officer Hatheway who was continually telling him to drop the knife. Officer Hatheway reports that he specifically told Mr. Kennan to "Drop the knife, Billy. Your kids are around and no one wants to get hurt. I don't want to hurt you. I only want to talk to you." Mr. Kennan continued to walk towards the officer, clutching the knife in his hand. For each step that Mr. Kennan took toward Officer Hatheway, Officer Hatheway attempted to take one backwards continuing to shout instructing Mr. Kennan to drop the knife.
At some point in this process Mr. Kennan stopped walking toward the officer and walked back to the van, climbed into the van and shut the doors, sitting back in the same seat that he had left earlier. At this point Officer Hatheway lowered but did not re-holster his weapon. As Officer Hatheway looked through the window of the van, he did see that Mr. Kennan had put the tip of the knife to the area of his throat. As he held the knife there, he took what appeared to be several deep breaths. It was at this point that Officer Jonas arrived on the scene. Officer Hatheway reports that Officer Jonas walked down to Hatheway's location and that he, Hatheway, informed Officer Jonas that Mr. Kennan was inside the van and had a knife to his throat. Mr. Kennan remained in the van still holding a knife to his throat and taking deep breaths. Officer Hatheway reports that Mr. Kennan then took one large breath after which Mr. Kennan opened the doors of the van. Mr. Kennan exited the van with the knife in his hand and walked toward Officer Jonas and Officer Hatheway at a pace described by Officer Hatheway as "brisk". Officer Hatheway yelled to Officer Jonas, "He's getting out of the van. He's out of the van." Officer Hatheway reports that both he and Officer Jonas were now in the driveway area of 87 ½ Union Street about five to ten feet apart. Mr. Kennan was walking toward them with the knife in his hand. Both officers began to walk backwards shouting at Mr. Kennan to drop the knife. Officer Hatheway reports that Mr. Kennan continued to shout, "I'm not going to do it. You're going to have to do it. You do it!". The officers, according to Officer Hatheway, continued to walk backwards until they were near the northeast corner of the house at 87 ½ Union Street. Officer Hatheway indicates that he had walked backwards about fifty to sixty feet from where he was originally standing and was now at about even with Officer Jonas. Mr. Kennan continued to refuse to drop the knife and was holding it at waist level pointing it at the officers as he continued to walk toward them now at a normal walking pace. Officer Hatheway reports that Mr. Kennan appeared even more upset at this point than he did when he had first arrived on the scene. It was Officer Hatheway's belief that Mr. Kennan was intent on coming at them with the knife and that he did not intend to put the knife down. As Mr. Kennan got to within what Officer Hatheway estimates as ten to fifteen feet of the officers with the knife still in his hand and pointed at them, Officer Hatheway reports seeing Mr. Kennan tighten the muscles in his hands and arms visibly straining the muscles in his body. He also noticed that Mr. Kennan had what appeared to be a distant look in his eyes as if he was looking through Officer Jonas and Officer Hatheway. At this point it was Officer Hatheway's belief that Mr. Kennan was going to stab either Officer Jonas or himself with the knife if they did not stop him. Officer Hatheway reports that he made one last effort shouting at Mr. Kennan to drop the knife to which order he did not comply with. With Mr. Kennan now approximately ten to fifteen feet, by Officer Hatheway's estimation, from the officers, Officer Hatheway recalled previous training exercises in which he had learned that if an armed individual is standing less than twenty-five feet away from an officer, the chances of the officer reacting in time to avoid a sudden lunge is very small. (Footnote 2) With this in mind and fearing that if Mr. Kennan got any closer, he would charge at Officer Jonas and himself, stabbing one or both of them, Officer Hatheway fired. Officer Hatheway reports that he heard a loud pop nearly simultaneously coming from his right. After Officer Hatheway fired his weapon, he heard a second loud pop, again, from his right. After the shots were fired, Officer Hatheway paused to see what effect the shots had on Mr. Kennan and watched as Mr. Kennan spun to his left and fell to the pavement near the front left corner of his home at 87 ½ Union Street. At this point Officer Hatheway radioed that shots had been fired, and then both he and Officer Jonas went to render medical assistance to Mr. Kennan. As they approached, Officer Jonas kicked the knife away from Mr. Kennan's reach. At this point other officers began to arrive, including Officer Conde. Officer Jonas and Officer Conde stayed with Mr. Kennan while Officer Hatheway ran to his cruiser for first aid supplies. While Officers Jonas and Conde were providing first aid assistance to Mr. Kennan, Officer Hatheway placed the knife that Mr. Kennan had been holding in his cruiser on the right front passenger floor and locked the doors. At this point Officer Hatheway observed a Vernon paramedic parked across the street who asked if the scene was safe, and Officer Hatheway replied, "yes". "We have a male down with multiple gunshot wounds." The paramedic immediately went to Mr. Kennan's assistance.
Officer Hatheway's full report is reproduced at Appendix A to this report.
B. Officer Gary Jonas
On June 3rd of 2001 Officer Jonas reports that he was working the 2:30 to 10:30 p.m. shift in the town of Vernon on general patrol. He was assigned as the back-up officer for Officer Hatheway at the 87 ½ Union Street complaint concerning Mr. Kennan. It was his understanding that the dispatch was the result of a third party call stating that Mr. Kennan was upset, intoxicated and had made indications that he might want to hurt himself. Officer Jonas was in the parking lot of the police station at the time of receiving the dispatch and briefly went back into the station to drop off some paperwork and then proceeded to 87 ½ Union Street in a normal (no lights or siren) response. While in route he heard a transmission from Officer Hatheway which he was not able to understand because of the radio quality. He responded to Officer Hatheway that he was still some distance away and advised to let him know what was going on. Shortly after passing the Garden Barn Nursery area of West Street in the town of Vernon, a little over two (2) miles from the scene, he heard Officer Hatheway radio that "He has a knife" at which point Officer Jonas activated his lights and siren to complete his response to the scene. He also heard a subsequent transmission in which Officer Hatheway reported that Mr. Kennan was cutting himself. He heard Officer Hatheway say something to the effect of, "Send more units". Immediately prior to his arrival at the scene he heard Officer Hatheway report by radio that "He's back in the van." Officer Jonas parked his car in front of 87 Union Street and ran down the driveway between 87 and 91 Union Street toward the rear residence which is 87 ½ Union Street, the Kennan residence. As he got to the end of the driveway he saw Officer Hatheway to his left with his gun drawn and pointed toward the ground. He noted that Officer Hatheway's attention was focused towards the rear of 87 ½ Union Street and was advised by Officer Hatheway that Mr. Kennan has a knife but he was back in his van. Officer Jonas noticed a male with blond hair starting down a wooden stairwell from the rear of 87 Union Street, and both he and Officer Hatheway ordered the male back up the stairs for safety reasons. Mrs. Kennan was standing in front of 87 ½ Union Street near the front door frantically yelling at her husband and obviously upset. Officer Jonas ordered her into her home for her own safety, and she complied. As Officer Hatheway made his way to the front left corner of the house at 87 ½ Union Street and looked around the corner, he observed a tan or light brown passenger van parked just to the rear of the residence. Officer Hatheway was about ten to fifteen feet to the left of Officer Jonas at this time. Officer Jonas was not able to see Mr. Kennan inside the van or whether the side rear passenger door was open due to the angle at which the van was parked. While Officer Hatheway maintained sight of the van, Officer Jonas reports that he attempted to organize other responding officers to form a perimeter around the area. At some point Officer Jonas reports that Officer Hatheway advised him that, "He's getting out again". Officer Hatheway immediately began to shout, "Drop the knife, Billy, drop the knife". At this point Officer Jonas unholstered his department issued firearm and saw Mr. Kennan walking from the rear area of the van towards Officer Hatheway and himself. Officer Jonas described Mr. Kennan as being approximately six feet two inches tall and weighing about two hundred and twenty pounds. Officer Jonas could see a large cut across the entire length of Mr. Kennan's chest. He could see that Mr. Kennan was holding in his right hand a large thick knife with what Officer Jonas estimated was an eight-inch cutting blade. As Mr. Kennan walked toward Officer Jonas and Officer Hatheway, Officer Jonas raised his firearm and aimed it at Mr. Kennan, fearing that he might attack. Officer Jonas reports that he knew as a result of training that he had received that a potential aggressor could cover considerable ground in a few short seconds and could potentially injure or kill an officer. Officer Jonas reports hearing Mr. Kennan screaming words to the effect, "Shoot me m**f**....shoot me". Officer Jonas told Mr. Kennan to drop the knife. Officer Jonas reports Mr. Kennan continued yelling saying "F***ing shoot me....come on f***ing shoot me". He reports that at one point Mr. Kennan paused for a brief moment in his movement, put his arms out to his sides and looked directly at Officer Jonas and yelled words to the effect of "You're going to have to do it". At that point Mr. Kennan was about twenty to twenty-five feet from Officer Jonas by Officer Jonas' estimation. Officer Jonas reports he again shouted, "Billy, drop the knife, let me help you out, drop the knife, Billy". Officer Jonas reports he could also hear Officer Hatheway shouting directions to Mr. Kennan and at one point heard him order Mr. Kennan back into the van. Mr. Kennan continued to walk toward Officer Jonas with a look of determination in his eyes. Officer Jonas reports that he could see the muscles in his forearms tensing and tightening as he gripped tightly around the knife. He reports that Mr. Kennan held the knife slightly above his waist level with the knife blade pointed directly at Officer Jonas. His neck muscles were also tightened, and Officer Jonas began to walk backwards away from him as he continued to approach closer. At this point Officer Jonas reports that he was fearful that Mr. Kennan's intention was to kill Officer Jonas with the knife that he had just gripped so tightly. Officer Jonas again told Mr. Kennan, "Billy, don't make me shoot you, drop the knife, Billy, don't make me shoot you" while still trying to move backwards away from him. Officer Jonas reports that he tried to maintain a distance of what he would estimate as twenty to twenty-five feet, but Mr. Kennan continued to approach, and Officer Jonas fired his weapon. It is Officer Jonas' understanding that he may have fired two shots; however, he could only clearly recall firing once and had no recollection of hearing Officer Hatheway fire his weapon. Officer Jonas immediately radioed dispatch that shots had been fired and went to render medical assistance to Mr. Kennan.
Officer Jonas' full report is reproduced at Appendix B to this report.
C. Ellen Kennan
Ellen Kennan is the wife of the deceased William Kennan. She worked that morning and came home at approximately 12:15 p.m. She observed her husband sitting on the couch with a beer in his hand. She spoke with him for a few minutes about a domestic repair project at which point he stated that he "needed to get into a rehab". She reports that he had been talking about this subject for several days and that he needed to get help for a drinking problem. Mr. Kennan called his doctor's answering service and the call was returned by what she described as a doctor
whose name she did not know but was covering for Doctor Schifferdecker. Mrs. Kennan reports that she overheard her husband talking to the doctor and that he told the doctor he needed help for alcoholism. He then gave the phone to her. Mrs. Kennan reports that she told the doctor that her husband wanted to go to rehab and that the doctor told her that he would call the Vernon police and have them check on Mr. Kennan because Mr. Kennan has a history of hurting himself. She reports that Mr. Kennan had attempted suicide five or six times in the time they had been together. These attempts had been by ingestion of pills, shooting himself and cutting himself. Mrs. Kennan reports that the doctor told her that the Vernon police would take her husband to Manchester Hospital for evaluation in the psychiatric unit. She reports that they then ended their conversation.
After Mrs. Kennan got off the phone, she told her husband that the Vernon police were going to come and take him to Manchester Hospital. He reacted by saying, "No, I'm not going". And that "I know that they're going to cuff me, shackle me and fight with me. I'm not going." Mrs. Kennan goes on to report that her husband then went outside and after he went out she noticed that one of the samurai swords that her husband normally keeps in a rack in the dining room was missing. She described it as the smallest of three, about twelve inches in length with a black handle, a gold stock and gold dragons on it. Upon making this observation, she went outside and found Mr. Kennan sitting in the rear passenger side of their 1985 Ford van parked behind the house. She attempted to have Mr. Kennan give her the knife, but he indicated he would not do so and added that, "I know what they're going to do, and I'm not going with them". She reports that the sword was on the floor of the van to Mr. Kennan's left and was not in the sheath. She repeated her attempt to get him to give it to her, but he would not do so. This discussion went on, according to Mrs. Kennan, for about ten minutes prior to the arrival of the Vernon police.
Mrs. Kennan told Mr. Kennan that the police had arrived and that he would be in trouble for having the knife. He again refused to give it to her. At this point the Vernon police officer approached on the passenger side of the van, and she heard the officer say, "Billy, come out of the van." I just came to talk to you." Mr. Kennan came out of the van, and Mrs. Kennan saw the police officer back up quickly towards the garage as he was drawing his weapon. Mrs. Kennan reports that the officer said two or three times to Mr. Kennan, "Drop the knife". Mrs. Kennan did not look at Mr. Kennan but watched the officer. At that point the officer told her to get in the house, and she turned around and started toward the house. She looked back, and the police officer again told her to get in the house. At that point the police officer was described by Mrs. Kennan as being ten to fifteen feet from Mr. Kennan. She did then go into the house. She reports that she did not hear Mr. Kennan say anything to the police officer.
Mrs. Kennan reports that as she was getting inside the house it sounded like Mr. Kennan and the police officer were moving toward the front of the house, and she heard the officer say two more times, "Drop the knife". Mrs. Kennan reports that she heard "a bunch" more police officers out front saying, "Drop the knife". She did not look outside and did not hear Mr. Kennan say anything. Mrs. Kennan reports that her daughter, Jennifer, tried to go outside, but the police officers told her to get back inside. At that point she heard a bunch of yelling from the front of the house and three gunshots. Mrs. Kennan then wanted to go outside, but the police would not let her. She reports that from the door she saw Mr. Kennan laying on the ground with five or six officers total, three or four of them "working on Billy". She saw them squeezing a bag over Mr. Kennan's face, and they were trying to give him medical assistance. Several minutes later she reported that medical personnel had arrived with a stretcher, and at that point she was too upset to continue looking outside.
Ellen Kennan's full statement is reproduced at Appendix C to this report.
D. Jennifer A. Kennan
Jennifer Kennan, age twenty-one at the time of this incident, is the daughter of William and Ellen Kennan and had been living with her mother and father, along with her sister, Jill, brother Joel and Jennifer's two sons, at 87 ½ Union Street. She reports that her mother returned from work about 12:15 p.m., and the family was cleaning the house while her father was sitting on the couch listening to music and drinking beer. She reports that he drank about four or five beers between 11:00 a.m. and the time the police came to the home.
At about 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. she reports that her father called his doctor, Doctor Shifferdecker. She does not believe he talked to Doctor Shifferdecker but rather with the doctor on call. She heard him ask the doctor for help and state that he wanted to go to detox. She further reports that he told the doctor that he did not want to go to Manchester Hospital. She observed her father hand the phone to her mother and observed her mother talk to the doctor for about five minutes before hanging up. About ten minutes later Ms. Kennan entered the living room, and her mother told her that one of the Chinese swords that her father collects was missing. The sword that was missing, as reported by Ms. Kennan, was described as being about eight inches in length and was on the bottom shelf. She observed the empty shelf.
During the time when Mrs. Kennan was on the phone with the doctor, Jennifer Kennan reports that she heard her father say, "I don't want to go to Manchester psychiatric unit because they will restrain me. If I go there, I'm going to do something. I refuse to go. I want to go to the Institute of Living." She then walked out the back door with her mother. She observed her mother standing next to the van with the side doors open and her mother standing outside the doors. She could see her father sitting on the swivel chair closest to the two side doors. She did not observe the knife, but she heard her mother say, "Billy, give me the knife". And she heard her father respond, "No, I'm going to hurt myself before I give you the knife. I would not hurt anyone else, just myself". At this point Jennifer Kennan reports that she ran back inside and went to the second floor porch. At that point she could still see her mother standing outside the van and saw a Vernon police officer come around the side of the house. She observed the officer walk to within ten feet of the van and say, "What's going on, Bill". She then observed the officer draw his weapon. He then told her mother to move. Then the officer said to Mr. Kennan, quoting from Ms. Kennan, "Put the weapon down". She goes on to say that the officer said this about four times as he, the officer, backed away from the van.
She then observed her mother run inside the house and her father close the two side doors of the van. She heard the officer broadcast on his radio words to the effect that "He barricaded himself in the van, and he has a weapon". She observed her father swing open the two side doors and come out with a knife in his left hand. She observed him holding the knife across his chest about four or five inches away from his chest and stated that she could see blood on her father's shirt in his left chest area as if he had already been cut. She yelled to her father to put the knife down and go with the officer. She reports that her father just looked at her. Her father started walking toward the officer, and the officer kept backing up saying, "Put down the knife". She states that the officer repeated this again about four times. She also heard her father say, "If you don't shoot me now, I'll kill myself". At that point Ms. Kennan reports that she ran into the house because she knew something was going to happen. Ten seconds or less later she heard three gunshots.
Jennifer Kennan's full statement is reproduced at Appendix D to this report.
E. Jill Marie Kennan
Jill Marie Kennan, age 16 at the time of this incident, is the daughter of William and Ellen Kennan, and also a resident of the family home at 87 ½ Union Street in Rockville. She told investigators that her father had suffered from a number of medical problems, having recently been discharged from the hospital after a 2-to-3 day stay for blood clotting problems. She also reported that her father was due for triple bypass surgery on Tuesday, June 5th, at Hartford Hospital. Jill Kennan had spent the previous night at a friend's house returning to the family home between 11:00 and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, June 3rd. Upon her arrival, her father was drinking beer and her mother was not yet home from work. Sometime that Sunday afternoon, Jill Kennan recalled her father phoning his doctor's office to seek help for both his alcohol problem and medication problems. Her father would take more pills than he was told to take by the doctor because he felt more comfortable taking more pills than prescribed. She reported that it would make him kind of high and more relaxed. He had been taking his medications like this for a year or two. A short time after her father's call, the doctor, according to Jill Kennan, called back. Ms. Kennan answered the phone and the doctor asked to speak to her mother. She handed the phone to her mother and went back to her room to finish cleaning. She did not hear the conversation. About twenty minutes or so after that telephone call, by Jill Kennan's recollection, she heard her sister Jennifer crying on the second floor back porch. She went to the porch with her sister and saw a police officer walking down the driveway with his gun drawn, approaching the passenger side of the Kennan family van. She further reports that her father was sitting in the van in one of the rear seats. Her sister, Jennifer, told her that their father had a sword with him in the van and that he was holding it up to his own neck. Jill Kennan saw her father get out of the side door of the van, holding the sword to his neck. She recognized it as the smaller of two "ninja" style swords that her father had bought within the past year. Jill Kennan reports that the first officer she saw approaching her father yelled to him, "Billy, drop the knife!", a couple of times. The officer was, by Jill Kennan's estimation, about fifteen feet or so from her father at the time that this statement was made. Her father began walking toward the officer, who was backing up still aiming the gun at her father. The officer was backing up along the side of the house, heading toward the driveway in the front of their house. Her father continued to walk toward the police officer. Jill Kennan then ran downstairs to the front door. As she reached the door she heard three gunshots, looked and saw her father falling over and the knife dropping to the ground. It was at this time that she first noticed that there was a second police officer in the driveway about thirty to thirty-five feet away from her father, by her estimation. The officers began to yell at them to get back into the house. Jill Kennan did not see the actual gunfire, she only heard the shots fired. She further reported that she believed her father only had four or five beers out of a thirty-pack that he had in the home.
Jill Marie Kennan's full statement is reproduced in Appendix E to this report.
F. Daniel T. Colmer
Mr. Colmer is a resident of 87 Union Street, the building immediately in front of the Kennan residence at 87 ½ Union Street. He is the brother-in-law of Mrs. Ellen Kennan. He reports that about 4:30 p.m. on the day in question he received a frantic phone call from his sister-in-law, Mrs. Kennan, asking him to go downstairs out back and try to calm William Kennan down because he was "acting stupid", and the cops had their guns out. He immediately ran down the back stairs to the back yard where he observed one Vernon police officer facing toward his brother-in-law's van. The officer had his gun drawn out of the holster with two hands on it pointed at the van, and he heard the officer in a loud but not yelling voice say, "Come out of the van, and we'll talk". He heard this twice. Mr. Colmer stated to the officer that he needed to talk to Mr. Kennan, that he could calm him down. He reports that the officer looked and turned to him and told him quite emphatically to get upstairs. As he started back up the stairs, another Vernon police officer came running down the driveway with his gun out of his holster and by his side. When Mr. Colmer got back to his apartment, he went out to the third floor rear porch with his wife in an area overlooking the backyard and the driveway. At that point he could observe William Kennan at the back corner of his house along the driveway. He observed that Mr. Kennan had a large oriental-type knife in his right hand out to his right side with his elbow bent. He could see blood on the front of Mr. Kennan's shirt. Two police officers were standing in the middle of the driveway, both hands on their guns which were aimed at William Kennan. He heard one officer yelling at William Kennan, "Put the knife down, and we can talk about it". He states the officer repeated this a couple of times to which William Kennan responded in words that Daniel Colmer remembers as "If you're going to blow me away, I'm just going to take myself". Mr. Colmer states that Mr. Kennan repeated this a couple of times.
Mr. Colmer reports that William Kennan was walking toward the officers, and at one point he put the knife to his chin. As Mr. Kennan was walking toward the officers, they were backing up with their guns out of the holsters. The exchange between the officers and Mr. Kennan continued with the officers stating, "Put the knife down", and William responding, as Mr. Colmer recalls it, "If you're going to blow me away, I'll take myself". Mr. Colmer remembers Mrs. Kennan being in the front of her house screaming at the police not to shoot him. The officers yelled at Mrs. Kennan to stay in the house. Mr. Colmer reports that by this time the police officer had backed up in front of Ellen and William Kennan's house, and William Kennan was standing at the northeast corner of the house, along the driveway. Mr. Kennan still had the knife to his chin, and the exchange between the police and William Kennan continued. The next thing Mr. Colmer recalls was that the officers fired their guns three times and he saw William Kennan fall to the ground. At that point the officers holstered their guns, stood looking at William Kennan for a period of time, and shortly thereafter an EMT or paramedic ran down the driveway and started first aid on William Kennan. The officers assisted the EMT with first aid on William Kennan. A short time later William Kennan was taken away in an ambulance.
Daniel Colmer's full statement is reproduced at Appendix F to this report.
G. Mary M. Colmer
Mrs. Colmer is the wife of Daniel Colmer and a resident of 87 Union Street where she resides with Daniel Colmer and her two sons, Michael Kennan and David Kennan, the children of herself and William Kennan's brother, Ronald. She is also the sister of Ellen Kennan. She also works at the Rockville Dunkin Donuts with Ellen Kennan, and they worked together that day from approximately 4:30 a.m. until noon. She was taking a bath when her husband Daniel came running into the bathroom and told her that the police were having an argument with her brother-in-law William Kennan in the backyard. She got out of the tub and put on a nightgown and ran to the back porch. She was standing on the third floor porch in the back of the house overlooking the area where the incident was taking place. When she looked out she could see William Kennan near the rear of his house in the driveway holding one of his fencing-type swords or knives in his left hand. She also saw two Vernon police officers standing closer to the back of her house but also in the driveway and observed that both officers had their guns drawn. Mrs. Colmer told her husband that she was going to go talk to William Kennan. As she walked to the second floor porch the officers told her to go back upstairs, and she complied with that request. She then observed William Kennan walking toward the police with the sword straight up in the air. She heard the officer keep telling William Kennan to put the knife down. She reports that the shorter of the two officers told William Kennan three or four times, "Billy, put the knife down". She goes on to report that William Kennan kept walking toward the officers slowly, and she heard him say to the officers, "If you don't shoot me now, I'm going to kill myself". Mrs. Colmer did not remember anyone else saying anything. As William Kennan continued to walk slowly in the direction of the officers, she heard three shots. She observed William Kennan fall to the ground and the officers run over to him. At that point she went in the house.
Mary Colmer's full statement is reproduced at Appendix G to this report.
H. Antwan D. Barnes
Antwan D. Barnes, age twenty at the time of the incident, was a resident of 91 Union Street on the second floor. He had known William Kennan for about eighteen months, although he was not familiar with his last name. At about 4:30 p.m. on June 3rd, 2001, Mr. Barnes was in his bedroom when he heard cars approaching his apartment at a fast rate of speed. He looked out and saw a police officer getting out of his cruiser and drawing his weapon. At that point Mr. Barnes ran to his back door and looked out the back porch on the second floor. He observed two police officers with their weapons drawn moving back and forth "like they didn't know where to aim." He reports seeing three police officers in the area at the point when William Kennan got out of his van. He reports hearing William Kennan say something to the effect that, "I'll hurt myself before I'll hurt one of you all". As he saw William Kennan come into his view, he observed William Kennan holding a knife down by his right side and walking towards his door. He heard one of the police officers yell, "Drop the knife", and William Kennan did not do so. He then heard a police officer yell, "Drop the weapon". He observed one of the officers put his finger on the trigger and then remove his finger from the trigger. William Kennan was still walking along the side of the house toward the police officers. Mr. Barnes reports that the police officer near the corner of William Kennan's house shot once, and then the police officer to his right fired twice, and William Kennan fell to the ground. The two police officers who shot William Kennan walked over to him and grabbed the knife that was on the ground. He observed that the knife's blade was silver with a gold circle around it and described it as a baby samurai sword with a total length of about twelve inches. The police officers told everyone to go inside. Emergency medical services arrived and about ten to fifteen minutes later William Kennan was removed to the hospital.
Antwan D. Barnes full statement is reproduced at Appendix H to this report.
I. April D. Barnes
April D. Barnes was a resident of 91 Union Street in the Town of Rockville. She arrived home at approximately 7:15 a.m. on Sunday, June 3, 2001, and at about 10 a.m. went to sleep in her bedroom in the rear of the apartment. She awoke at approximately 3:20 p.m. and began to watch television. At some point thereafter she heard her son, Antoine Barnes, yell to her to come to the back porch. At that point she got out of bed, went to the second floor back porch where Antoine and her daughter, Cayonie, (Footnote 3) were standing on the porch. She observed two Vernon police officers standing in the backyard of the house next door. One of the officers had his handgun out of the holster and his handgun pointed in the direction where a van was parked. The second officer had his hand on his handgun, but the handgun was still in the holster. The officer with the gun out of the holster walked toward the corner of the house and in the direction where the van was parked. She heard the officer yell to someone to get out of the van. She assumed that this person was William Kennan. The officer repeated this twice, and Mr. Kennan did come out of the van. She saw Mr. Kennan's family come to the front door, but the police officers told them to go back into the house, which they did. The police officer then stepped backward away from the corner of the house and yelled to his partner, "He has a knife in his hand." April Barnes observed William Kennan come from behind the building with a knife in his hand. His hand was fully extended and pointed at the police officer as he walked toward the officer who had his handgun out of his holster. She described the knife as approximately twelve to fifteen inches long with a black and yellow handle. She heard the officer yell to William Kennan, "drop the knife," three times. The officer was approximately, by April Barnes estimation, five to six feet away from William Kennan when he yelled to Mr. Kennan to drop the knife. Mr. Kennan still had the knife in his hand even after the officer told him to drop it. The second police officer was, again by April Barnes estimation, approximately two feet behind the first officer and on his right side. At some point during the yelling, the second officer took his handgun out of his holster also. William Kennan was still walking toward the police when the officer fired his handgun. It was her belief that the first officer that she observed was the officer who fired first. Mr. Kennan remained standing after that first shot was fired. She then heard two more shots, and William Kennan fell to the ground and the knife fell from his hand.
April D. Barnes' full statement is reproduced at Appendix I to this report.
J. Michael A. Smith
Michael A. Smith, age 21 at the time of this incident, was a resident of 95 Union Street, Apartment B, in the Town of Rockville. On the day in question, he was "hanging out" between his apartment and the house next door, 93 Union Street, for most of the day. At about 4:30 p.m., he was outside 93 Union Street by the chain link fence. He reports that he saw a white Vernon police cruiser pull up. The officer walked down the driveway in the direction where William Kennan lives. He then saw a second blue police cruiser stop in the street. The officer exited his vehicle and ran down the driveway toward the first officer. He heard both officers yelling to "Bill" to get out of the van. When William Kennan did get out of the van, he began walking toward the officers. He heard the officers yell to William Kennan to put down the knife. He heard them yell it three times. Mr. Smith reports that he was unable to see William Kennan's right hand, but he could see that there was nothing in his left hand. When the officers yelled to William Kennan, Mr. Kennan continued to walk toward his porch. When the officers were about six or seven feet away from William Kennan, Mr. Smith heard a single shot and then two "pops" right after it. He reported that Mr. Kennan did not fall after the first shot, but fell after he heard "two pops." Mr. Smith reports that he had not heard William Kennan say anything during any of these events. After Mr. Kennan went down, Mr. Smith observed one officer run up to Mr. Kennan and grab the knife and put it in a police car. The other officer got the paramedic.
Michael A. Smith's full statement is reproduced at Appendix J to this report.
K. Cassandra H. Curtis
Cassandra H. Curtis, of 37 Ward Street, Apartment 2, Rockville, Connecticut, was a 14-year old eighth grader at the time of this incident. On Sunday, June 3, 2001, she was visiting with her friend, Antoine Barnes, at 91 Union Street in Rockville. While she was there, Antoine apparently heard something on his police scanner on the Vernon police channel and yelled to everyone to come here as he was heading for the rear porch. As she watched from the second-floor porch, she saw two Vernon police officers in the driveway between the two houses at 89 Union Street. One officer was standing in front of the front door of William Kennan's house and had his gun drawn. There was another Vernon officer standing about ten to fifteen right of the first officer in front of the door. William Kennan was about ten feet from the police officers and was holding a knife in one of his hands. Cassandra Curtis heard the police officer by the front door yell to William Kennan, "Put the knife down." She then heard and saw the officer by the front door fire his gun. It looked to her as though William Kennan was shot in the leg at that point. The second officer then fired and hit Mr. Kennan twice, she believed in the chest. Mr. Kennan did not fall down when he was first shot, but took another step toward the police officers and it was at this point that the second police officer fired and William Kennan fell to the driveway.
The full statement of Cassandra H. Curtis is reproduced at Appendix K to this report.
L. Alex C. Klosek
Alex C. Klosek of 93A Union Street in Rockville, Connecticut, was a 12-year old sixth grader at the time of this incident. He was outside skateboarding with friends by the fence at 91 Union Street, which is the fence that separates the 91 Union Street property from the 87-87 ½ Union Street property. A police cruiser pulled up onto the sidewalk across from where he and his friends were standing. It was a blue Vernon police cruiser, and the officer got out of the vehicle and ran down the driveway. As the officer got by the youths, he started to draw his weapon. Alex looked to see where the officer was running and saw the father of one of his friends, William Kennan. At that time, Mr. Kennan was about fifteen feet beside his house holding a knife in his right hand. It looked to Alex Klosek as though William Kennan had some blood on the right side of his face and some blood on his shirt. He heard the officers yell to William Kennan, "Billy, put the knife down." He heard William Kennan say to the cop, "No." He observed Mr. Kennan walking toward the officer still holding the knife, and saw the officer shoot three or four times and Mr. Kennan fall to the driveway. He observed the officer run up to William Kennan and take the knife from him. He also saw the paramedic run up to Mr. Kennan. He then observed the officer put the knife into his police car. It was Alex Klosek's recollection that he only saw one police officer in the driveway.
Alex Klosek's full statement is reproduced at Appendix L to this report.
An autopsy was performed on the deceased, William W. Kennan, at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. It was determined that Mr. Kennan died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. Two wounds were described by the Medical Examiner. One was a gunshot wound to the abdomen in the upper left quadrant at the rib margin. This wound caused injury to the stomach, pancreas and left adrenal gland. The other wound described in the Medical Examiner's report grazed the face and reentered the chest causing injury to the right lung. This bullet trajectory was from the top of the head, down through the face reentering the chest near the second rib and passing through all three lobes of the right lung. The tract of the wound passes out of the chest cavity through a fractured eighth rib and ends below the skin where the bullet was recovered. Testing was done for drugs and alcohol. The only finding was a level of .07 % ethanol in the blood and .08 % in the brain. The cause of death was determined to be multiple gunshot wounds, and the manner of death was determined to be homicide. (Footnote 4)
Physical Evidence and Reconstruction
The scene of the shooting was secured by the Vernon Police Department until it could be turned over to the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad. The scene was processed by the Eastern District Major Crime Squad, which located and preserved a number of pieces of physical evidence. These included photographs and video preservation of the general appearance of the scene, and measurements of the locations of the blood stains on the pavement, the medical debris indicating the general location where the deceased was upon the ground after the shooting, and the location of three shell casings ejected by the police weapons as a result of the shooting. Also preserved for forensic reconstruction analysis were the items of clothing worn by the deceased and the weapons used by the two officers involved.
On November 19, 2001, the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory conducted a reconstruction at the scene of the shooting, under the direction of Dr. Henry Lee. This reconstruction was done as a result of requests submitted by the Office of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Tolland and the Eastern District Major Crime Squad. The full report of that reconstruction is included as Appendix N to this report. A number of the photographs included in the original report have been omitted from this reproduction due to their graphic nature and the fact that they would add little to an understanding of the conclusions reached in the reconstruction. The descriptions of those photographs and the role they play in the reconstruction are included in the report. Based on that reconstruction, it can be fairly concluded that the shots were fired from a distance somewhere between eighteen and twenty-six feet, approximately. It was the conclusion of the reconstruction team that the shooting incident, as described in the statements of witnesses and the reports of the police officers is consistent with the scene reconstruction.
Based upon the reconstruction report Trooper Michael T. Mathieu of the Connecticut State Police prepared a detailed diagram of the shooting scene. This diagram was prepared to scale and depicts, in addition to the general layout of the scene, three circles representing the approximate location of the officers at the time each of the shots was fired as determined by the reconstruction. Also in the diagram are the numbers 1 through 5. 1-3 represent the final positions of the shell casings ejected by the officers weapons. 4 and 5 represent blood stains and clothing establishing where Mr. Kennan fell to the ground. This diagram is included in Appendix O to this report.
Inspectors from the Office of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Tolland made contact with six witnesses to the shooting. (Footnote 5) Each was asked to mark the locations of the officers and Mr. Kennan on a version of the scene diagram depicting only the scene layout, not any of the locations of shell casings, blood stains or the circles derived from the reconstruction. All did so and indicated positions substantially consistent with the reconstruction as depicted in the diagram at Appendix O.
Law Regarding the Use of Deadly Force by Peace Officers
The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether the use of deadly force by Officers Hatheway and Jonas was appropriate under section 53a-22 of the General Statutes. §53a-22(c) provides:
"A peace officer. . .is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person for the purposes specified in subsection (b) of this section only when he reasonably believes such to be necessary to: (1) Defend himself or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force; or (2) effect an arrest or prevent the escape from custody of a person whom he reasonably believes has committed or attempted to commit a felony which involved the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury and if, where feasible, he has given warning of his intent to use deadly physical force."
Pursuant to subsection (1), a police officer may use deadly physical force when he reasonably believes the use of such force is necessary to defend himself from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force. The test is both subjective and objective. First, the officer must believe that the use of deadly force is necessary to defend himself from the imminent use of deadly physical force. Second, that belief must be objectively reasonable. See State v. Prioleau, 235 Conn. 274 (1995).
The test is not whether it was in fact necessary for the officer to use deadly physical force in order to defend against the imminent use of deadly physical force. The test is whether the officer believed such to be the case, and whether such belief was objectively reasonable, based on the facts and circumstances known to the officer at the time the decision to use deadly force was made. See State v. Silveira, 198 Conn. 454 (1986); State v. Adams, 52 Conn. App. 643 (1999).
The United States Supreme Court explained this test in detail in a civil rights action.
"The reasonableness' of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. . . .The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance of the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments----in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving----about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation." Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 109 S.CT 1865, 104 L.Ed. 2d 443 (1989).
Based on an exhaustive review of all the information available, including the physical evidence gathered at the scene, the autopsy report, the statements of witnesses, reports of the officers involved and the reconstruction report completed by the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory and Dr. Henry Lee, it is found that the officers involved responded to a request for medical assistance at the Kennan residence on the afternoon in question. Upon arrival, the first responding officer found an obviously distressed William Kennan seated in a van in the parking area next to 87 ½ Union Street. Mr. Kennan was armed with a large knife, which has also been described as a small sword. The officers attempted to secure the area and to convince Mr. Kennan to surrender or drop the weapon. Upon exiting the van, Mr. Kennan advanced on the officers who had drawn their weapons. It was the unanimous recollection of all involved, both the officers, family members of Mr. Kennan, and independent witnesses, that the officers made repeated requests for Mr. Kennan to drop the knife. He refused to do so. He continued to advance on the officers, who retreated as far as they could consistent with their own safety and the safety of others who might be at risk if this obviously distressed armed individual were to leave the area which the officers had secured.. At that point the officers were confronted by a situation that required them to act. Failure to do so would have placed them in increasing danger, and allowing Mr. Kennan to leave the area with the knife or to enter one of the residences with the knife would have put others at risk. A total of three shots were fired by the officers. One of those shots struck the deceased in the left upper abdomen just below the rib cage. Another shot struck the deceased near the top of the head at a very sharp angle paralleling the front of his body, going down through a portion of the face, exiting, reentering the chest and penetrating all three lobes of the right lung. The third round apparently penetrated the right rear pocket of the deceased, not causing any physical injury to his body. While it cannot be said with certainty, the undersigned believes it can be fairly concluded that the first round fired struck the deceased in the upper left abdomen. As the deceased began to pitch forward as a result of that wound, the second round apparently struck him as he was going down, thus accounting for the very steep angle of entry. It is further concluded that the third round struck him in the right rear pocket as he rotated while falling to the ground. These shots were fired in rapid succession, and the officers immediately ceased fire when it was apparent that Mr. Kennan was no longer advancing on them and had dropped the knife.
Based on all of the evidence the undersigned has concluded that Officers Hatheway and Jonas reasonably believed that it was necessary for them to use deadly force to defend themselves and others from the imminent use of deadly force. The use of deadly force by Officers Hatheway and Jonas was, therefore, appropriate under Section 53a-22 of the General Statutes.
Accordingly, no further action will be taken by the Division of Criminal Justice.
Dated at Rockville, Connecticut, this 8th day of August, 2002.
Paul E. Murray
Footnote 1: This was information that the dispatcher was aware of from prior contacts with Mr. Kennan. (Follow this link to return to the report text).
Footnote 2: In his report Officer Hatheway states that "I knew, through previous training exercises, that, if an armed individual is standing less than twenty-feet away from me, the chances of reacting in time to avoid a sudden lunge (by the attacker), is very small. At this point, I feared that, if Kennan got any closer, he would charge at OFC. Jonas and me, stabbing one or both of us."
The Vernon Police Department Firearms, Use of Force Lesson Plan includes the following at page 9: "Each student will attempt to defend against a simulated "without warning" knife attack starting at a distance of twenty-one feet from the attacker. You have all probably heard of the twenty-one foot rule of knife defense. A lot of trainers say that the twenty-one foot rule is really the thirty-six foot rule. That is how much space it takes to defend against an unexpected knife attack.
Officer Hatheway had received this training on May 7, 2001 and Officer Jonas on May 1, 2001. (Follow this link to return to the report text).
Footnote 3: Cayonie Barnes had not been interviewed during the initial phases of the investigation. On July 12, 2002 she was interviewed by detectives of the Eastern District Major Crime Squad. It was learned that she did not witness the actual shooting, but did see and hear some of the events leading up to the shooting. She particularly described her impression that the officers were trying to "'talk someone down' or calm someone down." She also described seeing Mr. Kennan moving toward the officers with a "big hunting knife" in his hand and the officers repeatedly telling him to "Put it down! Put it down!" It was her recollection that initially there were two or three officers. Prior to the shooting, when she looked out a second time, she states that "I saw what I think was three cops." It is clear from the other witnesses that only two officers were present at that point. Cayonie Barnes full statement is reproduced at Appendix M to this report. (Follow this link to return to the report text).
Footnote 4: A homicide is defined as any killing of one person by another. The question under consideration in this report is whether this homicide was justifiable under the law. (Follow this link to return to the report text).
Footnote 5: Cassandra Curtis, Alex Klostek, April Barnes, Mary Colmer, Antwon Barnes and Daniel Colmer. (Follow this link to return to the report text.)