Report of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of New Britain Concerning the Shooting Death of John Sullivan in Plymouth on November 7, 2001
April 12, 2002
Introduction | Summary of Evidence | Processing of the Scene| Cause of Death | Forensic Findings | Findings of Fact | Conclusion
On the morning of November 7, 2001, at approximately 7:00 a.m., members of the Connecticut State Police Western Tactical Team, responding to a hostage situation, entered a residence located at 23 Fall Mountain Terrace, Plymouth, Connecticut. Upon entering the residence they encountered John Sullivan. In the ensuing confrontation Mr. Sullivan was shot multiple times by several members of the Tactical Team and subsequently died of the resulting injuries. Mr.Sullivan’s hostage, Jules Ramos, was later found murdered in the residence.
Section 51-277a of the Connecticut General Statutes provides that “[w]henever a peace officer, in the performance of his duties, uses deadly physical force upon another person and such person dies as a result thereof, the Division of Criminal Justice shall cause an investigation to be made …” The incident occurred within the geographic boundaries of the New Britain Judicial District. As such the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office conducted the statutorily mandated investigation. Pursuant to the above-mentioned statute, the undersigned requested the assistance of the State Police, the State Police Forensic Laboratory and the State Medical Examiner’s Office. Because the police officers involved in the shooting were attached to the Western District of the Connecticut State Police, the State Police officers assigned to the investigation were from the Central District Major Crime Squad.
Shortly after the conclusion of the hostage crisis, inspectors from the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office were called to the scene. After consulting with the undersigned State’s Attorney, the Central District Major Crime Squad was assigned to investigate the murder of Jules Ramos and the subsequent fatal shooting of John Sullivan, under the direction of the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office. Later that morning, members of that unit responded to the scene to begin this investigation. As is customary in homicide cases a thorough processing of the scene was undertaken by officers experienced in crime scene investigation. The processing included videotaping and photographing the area of the crime, preparing a sketch map, and locating, identifying, photographing, cataloguing and seizing pertinent evidence by the assigned crime unit. A total of 81 pieces of evidence were seized from the scene, from the police officers involved in the shooting, and from Jules Ramos and John Sullivan. Numerous pieces of seized evidence were sent to the State Police Forensic Laboratory for analysis. Reports of these analyses were thereafter prepared. An autopsy was performed on the bodies of Jules Ramos and John Sullivan by Dr. H. Wayne Carver, Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Connecticut. In addition, toxicological tests under the direction of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner were performed and reports of these tests were prepared. Finally, interviews were conducted of lay individuals who might have information pertinent to the investigation and police reports were obtained from the police officers at the scene. Statements and/or reports were obtained from a total of 25 individuals. All of the officers, including the three officers who fired their weapons, fully cooperated with the investigation.
The undersigned State’s Attorney has reviewed all of the information obtained during the course of this investigation. All of the various agencies involved in this investigation have cooperated with the State’s Attorney’s Office by providing the information needed to completely review this incident. Their assistance and professionalism is deeply appreciated and was essential for the undersigned to perform his statutory duty.
This report is filed pursuant to Section 51-277a(c) of the General Statutes.
In November of 2001, Jessica Sullivan lived at 23 Fall Mountain Terrace, Plymouth with her twenty-two month old daughter, Jules Ramos. 23 Fall Mountain Terrace is a one story single family residence with a walk-out basement. The interior of the residence contains on the main floor a living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom, and in the basement area a living room, a bathroom, a bedroom and utility room. The roof is divided into two levels and a window vertical to and connecting the two levels of the roof allows a view from the roof into the living room. Jessica and Jules lived alone in the house. Jessica’s bedroom was on the main floor, facing the rear of the house. Her daughter’s bedroom was across the hall, facing the front.
John Sullivan, the brother of Jessica, had lived on and off with her for a number of years but recently had been living in Bristol with a friend. Mr. Sullivan had had a significant substance abuse problem for a number of years and had been arrested on a number of previous occasions. He was scheduled to begin serving a prison sentence on November 13, 2001. In anticipation of this prison sentence, Mr. Sullivan had gone to California on vacation with his friend, William Lambert.
Mr. Lambert provided a statement to investigating officers concerning this trip. He stated that Mr. Sullivan and he had gone to California on the afternoon of October 31, 2001, staying in the San Diego area. From October 31 until November 5 the two resided together in several motels and spent time visiting area bars. On November 5, Lambert and Sullivan were together at a bar watching the World Series until 9 p.m., at which time they split up. Lambert returned in the early morning hours to the motel they shared and found Sullivan inside. Upon Lambert entering the motel room, Sullivan got off the bed, approached Lambert, and for an unknown reason punched him in the face. The two began to fight, during which Sullivan pulled out a knife and threatened Lambert, saying: “I am going to kill you”. In the struggle the right hand of Lambert was cut by the knife. The police were called and responded, but no arrest was made. A police report from the San Diego Police Department confirms being called to the scene of a fight between Lambert and Sullivan and that no arrest was made.
Lambert was taken to a hospital by ambulance where he received treatment for his wounds. He did not see Sullivan after that and he remained on the West Coast until November 7 at which time he learned of the death of Sullivan. During their time together in California, Lambert stated that Sullivan and he consumed alcohol on several occasions and they also smoked marijuana once. According to Lambert he had no knowledge of Sullivan using any other drugs during this time. Mr. Sullivan telephoned his sister Jessica on several occasions while in California. In one of these telephone calls he confirmed that Lambert and he had gotten into a fight and as a result had gone their separate ways.
On November 7, at approximately 12:30 a.m., Mr. Sullivan arrived unexpectedly at 23 Fall Mountain Terrace. Ms. Sullivan gave a detailed sworn statement to the police describing the events that occurred after the arrival of her brother. According to this statement, Mr. Sullivan told his sister that he had taken a plane from San Diego to Bradley International Airport, with a stop over at Philadelphia. Upon landing at Bradley, Sullivan said he took a taxi from the airport to Waterbury and from there walked to Plymouth. The accuracy of this information was not confirmed.
Upon arriving at 23 Fall Mountain Terrace, Sullivan knocked on the door, awakening his sister. After letting him in she noticed an “intense, paranoid, fearful look” on Mr. Sullivan’s face. He made several bizarre statements to his sister, including that “I smell anthrax” and “I walked through the shadow of the valley of death.” Ms. Sullivan could not smell alcohol on the breath of her brother but assumed that he was under the influence of some kind of drug. She made efforts to engage him in conversation and he assured her that he was all right for the moment.
In a further attempt to calm her brother, Jessica Sullivan decided that they would go for a ride in her motor vehicle. Jules, who was asleep at the time in her bedroom was awakened and placed in the vehicle by her mother. The three then went for a drive through several neighboring towns, making a number of brief stops. During the drive a number of topics were discussed, including Mr. Sullivan’s drug use. Mr. Sullivan told his sister that he had purchased and ingested the drug “Ecstasy” while in Waterbury earlier in the evening. After driving around they returned at approximately 2 a.m., to 23 Fall Mountain Terrace.
Jessica Sullivan, upon arriving home, put Jules, who had fallen asleep, back in her bedroom and John and Jessica stayed up. In the next several hours John watched several movies on the television and took a shower, Ms. Sullivan washed clothes and the two talked. During this time she emptied his suitcase, which contained dirty clothing, and found no drugs or drug paraphernalia inside the suitcase. The two movies that John watched that night were “Senior Trip” and “Chocolat”.
At approximately 4:00 a.m. John Sullivan was sitting on a couch in the living room watching the movie “Chocolat”. Jessica Sullivan also was in the living room watching the movie, sitting on the floor and leaning on an air mattress that she had blown up. Offhandedly, she said that the upcoming scene was the only violent part of the movie, with one of the characters getting beat up. According to Jessica Sullivan’s statement, this comment seemed to cause her brother to become agitated. She described in her statement her brother’s reaction:
“John snapped. He instantly got very tense. He looked very different and dazed. He said, ‘Don’t threaten my family’. He was looking at the TV but talking to me as if I was his enemy. John looked as if he didn’t recognize me. Around this time he did the sign of the cross. I said to him ‘what’ and ‘John, I’m your sister’. He didn’t acknowledge me. John said ‘I know who you are’, like I was some else. I got scared that he didn’t know me. John said, ‘I have cut off heads before.’”
From this behavior Ms. Sullivan began to fear for her safety. She made a decision to leave the house in order to protect herself from her brother. She grabbed a cordless phone, her keys and her purse and fled the house. While she was getting her things she observed John Sullivan take a sword (Footnote) that he had purchased at a tag sale from the living room closet, sit on the couch in the living room and pull the sword from its sheath.
During this time, Jules remained asleep in her crib. Jessica Sullivan, not wanting to draw her brother’s attention to the child and believing that he would not harm Jules had decided not to attempt to remove her from the house. She left the residence through the front door and upon getting outside immediately called 911 and spoke to the Plymouth police. In her statement she recounted that she told the police that John Sullivan was in the house with a knife and that Jules was also there. She further told the dispatcher that she could hear her child crying and was going to re-enter the house. This call was received, according to the police report of Plymouth Sergeant Robert Ugliaroio, at the Plymouth police department at approximately 4:36 a.m. The police dispatcher advised her not to enter the residence and to remain on the line.
At this time a newspaper carrier named Edmond Monroe was in the neighborhood delivering newspapers. He has given a statement to the police describing his observations and actions. When he first saw Jessica Sullivan she was outside the house talking on the phone. He approached her and asked if there was anything wrong. She said that there was and ran back toward the house. She went to the front door, according to her statement, demanded that her brother open the door and used her key to unlock and open the door. John Sullivan was on the other side of the door and swung the sword at Jessica Sullivan. This act caused her to move away from the door, resulting in the keys dropping to the ground. John Sullivan slammed the door closed, then opened the door, took the keys and closed the door again.
Mr. Monroe, who had observed this latest encounter between Jessica and John, then called the police on his cell phone. This call was received by Plymouth Police at approximately 4:41 a.m., according to police reports. He reported to the police that when Jessica approached the house to get her child John had confronted her with a knife. He expressed his concern that the police needed to arrive at the scene as quickly as possible.
At approximately 4:42 the first police officers arrived at the scene. Sgt. Robert Ugliaroio and Officer Gerry Allain of the Plymouth Police Department, traveling in separate cruisers, were the first police officers to reach the Sullivan home, with Officer Robert Wright arriving several minutes later. All three officers subsequently wrote police reports concerning the events of this morning. Sgt. Ugliaroio immediately began to interview Jessica Sullivan and was given a summary of the events involving her brother over the past several hours. Sgt. Ugliaroio, upon completing this interview, reached the conclusion that the State Police Emergency Services Unit should be deployed. The call from Plymouth police to State Police Barracks at Litchfield, Troop L, conveying this request was made at 4:45 a.m.
The Emergency Services Unit of the State Police provides specialized emergency services to the State Police or, upon request, to local police departments. This elite unit is designed to be utilized in high risk situations, including the holding of hostages and barricaded individuals. The members assigned to this unit receive specialized and ongoing training in handling these kinds of high risk crises. It can only be mobilized upon order of the State Police district commander for the area where the crisis is occurring.
Officer Allain, while Sgt. Ugliaroio was interviewing Jessica, approached the Sullivan residence. He went to the front door and attempted to make contact with John Sullivan by calling out to him. Allain was then joined by Sgt. Ugliaroio, and both made efforts to speak to and calm John Sullivan. Sullivan, according to Sgt. Ugliaroio, was very agitated and he warned the police not to try and enter the house, which he described as “God’s house”. He threatened to chop off the heads of anybody entering the house. He claimed to be on a mission for Jesus Christ, said that police were evil and that he would soon own the souls of police officers. He also began to chant: “U.S.A., U.S.A.”, yelling about the Twin Towers and anthrax. The police officers did not hear any sound consistent with that of a child coming from the house. The two police officers also walked the perimeter of the house, looking for an entry, but found all the doors locked and the shades drawn.
The mother of John and Jessica, Gail Sullivan, and their grandmother, Rita Johnson, had meanwhile been contacted by Jessica and advised of the situation. Both women were later interviewed by the police and Ms. Johnson provided a written statement. Ms. Johnson reported that shortly after the telephone call they arrived at 23 Fall Mountain Terrace. Both women spoke to John Sullivan from outside the house through the locked door, attempting to convince him to release Jules. In reply John Sullivan told them not to worry, that Jules was gone and she was in heaven. The two woman then moved away from the house and comforted Jessica. Ms. Johnson, in her statement, said that after speaking to her grandson she concluded that Jules was already dead.
The first State Police officer to arrive at the Sullivan home was Sgt. Douglas Pina, at 5:05 a.m., followed several minutes later by Trooper Macholl. Sgt. Pina, in his police report, states that he was briefed on the situation by Sgt. Ugliaroio. He also interviewed Jessica Sullivan. Pina thereafter climbed onto the roof of the Sullivan residence and was able to see through the roof window into the living room. He observed John Sullivan walking about with a sword in one hand and a knife in the other. He was not able to see any sign of Jules.
Trooper Macholl wrote a report detailing his actions that morning. In his report he stated that, soon after his arrival at the scene, he walked around the perimeter of the home. He could hear Sullivan shouting; “this is a house of God now” and “the world is going to end”. He then looked through the right front bedroom window of the residence, where Jules was believed to have sleeping, hoping to be able to see through the blinds. Because it was beginning to become light outside, Macholl was able to get a limited view inside. He observed stains on the hallway carpet just outside the bedroom, which appeared to be blood. Macholl reported his observations to Sgt. Pina.
Trooper Macholl, after speaking to Sgt. Pina, went to another window which was located to the left of the front door of the residence, trying to see inside the living room. As Macholl was about two feet from the window, Sullivan threw back the blinds and pressed himself against the glass. In his hand Sullivan had a sword which he was rubbing against the side of his neck. In response Macholl pulled from the holster his handgun and pointed it at Sullivan. Sullivan asked the trooper, “are you scared? I’ll cut your fucking head off too.” He then laughed and moved away from the window swinging the sword. Macholl re-holstered the firearm without firing any rounds.
Members of the State Police Emergency Services Unit, in response to the request from Plymouth police, began to arrive at the Plymouth Police Station shortly before 6:00 a.m. The first officers to arrive, Sgt. Raoul Palen and Trooper Joseph Voket, were briefed by a Plymouth police officer as to the situation at the Sullivan residence and given background about John Sullivan. Sgt. Palen, in his police report, stated that he was informed that Sullivan had prior arrests for narcotics and weapons violations and that he was known to possess firearms. Sgt. Palen in turn briefed Master Sergeant Daniel Lewis, the commanding officer of the Emergency Services Unit, upon his arrival at the police station. In his report, Lewis stated that he was advised that Sullivan was high on drugs, had chased his sister out of the home with a sword and that there remained inside an infant. He was also advised that Sullivan in the past had access to firearms. Additional information was later given to members of the Emergency Services Unit by officers at the scene as well as by Jessica Sullivan.
The members of the Emergency Services Unit who had gathered at the police station were escorted to the Sullivan home by Plymouth police, arriving at approximately 6:07 a.m. Additional members of the Emergency Services Unit arrived at the Plymouth police station after 6:07 and they were then taken to the Sullivan home. In all 13 members of this unit were eventually at the scene. Master Sergeant Lewis was in command of the members of the Emergency Service Unit utilized during this confrontation and the other State Police units present at the scene that morning.
Trooper Christopher Bartolotta, a member of the Emergency Services Unit, was designated the hostage negotiator. A part of his duties was to attempt to establish communication with Mr. Sullivan for the purpose of seeking a peaceful conclusion to the crisis. He provided a police report detailing his actions that morning. After being briefed, he approached the residence, and heard Sullivan shouting from within. Using the ladder, Bartolotta climbed onto the roof and met up with Sgt. Pina. Bartolotta, from the roof, attempted to establish a dialog with Sullivan by calling out to him through the window roof. Sullivan refused to engage in a conversation, shouting obscenities and moving from room to room. Bartolotta asked Sullivan to open a window so a telephone could be given him to facilitate communication but Sullivan did not respond. Bartolotta heard Sullivan shouting statements such as: “Fuck you, get away from here this is a house of God”. In response to Bartolotta’s inquiring about the welfare of Jules, Sullivan responded, “Don't worry about her, she's in the house of God.”
Bartolotta climbed down off the roof and looked through the blind of the window in Jules’ room. He observed a blood-like smear on the floor and drops of blood-like substance on the curtain of the window that Bartolotta was looking through. Bartolotta had not observed injuries on Sullivan to account for the blood stains observed. Bartolotta reported his observations to Master Sergeant Lewis. Lewis noted in his report that he looked through this same window and observed a dark stain on the floor near the bedroom door that appeared to be smeared like a drag mark.
Sergeant Palen, along with Trooper Voket, Trooper Arthur Walkley, Trooper Michael Fitzsimons, and later Trooper Steven Orlowski, all members of the Emergency Services Unit, were assigned the responsibility of going to the back of the Sullivan house. Each of these officers later provided a written report of their activities. From the back of the house they observed a sliding glass door that entered into the walk-out basement. There was also a second story wooden porch with two sliding doors leading into the house. One of these doors lead into the kitchen, the other into the rear bedroom of Jessica Sullivan. Each sliding door was covered by closed Venetian blinds that limited viewing into the interior of the home. Using a ladder the police gained access to the upper deck. The furniture from the deck was thrown to the ground, to give the officers additional area to maneuver. These officers were carrying breaching equipment, a shotgun designed to fire less than lethal ammunition, as well as several handguns and assault rifles. At this time Master Sergeant Lewis was notified that the officers on the porch were in position and ready to enter the home.
A second team of Emergency Services Unit officers were assigned to the front door of the residence. These officers were Trooper Steven Zonghetti, Trooper Jeffrey Dubuc, Trooper Christopher Lunz, Trooper Brian Faughnan and Trooper Michael Alonga. These officers provided to investigators written reports of their activities during this incident. Each of these officers was dressed in tactical gear that included a ballistic tactical vest with "State Police", written on the front and back, kevlar helmet with goggles, kneepads, nomex gloves and tactical web belt with holster. These officers had been briefed at the scene by Master Sergeant Lewis and had been advised, according to the reports of several of the officers, that a suspect was holding a young female child hostage inside the home. They were also advised that the suspect was armed with a sword, was shouting about this being a house of God and that possible blood stains had been observed.
A plan to enter the home was devised with input from Master Sergeant Lewis, Sergeant Palen and Trooper Voket. The plan called for the team at the front of the residence to breach the front door, enter the home and hold their position. This maneuver is known as the “breach and hold” and the team was called the breach and hold team. The purpose of this maneuver, as explained by Trooper Voket in his police report, was several fold. First, to make observations into the living room in hopes of identifying the location and condition of Jules, second, to locate the suspect and any weapons he may have at his disposal, third, to prevent the escape of the suspect, and finally to cause a distraction allowing time for the second team to sweep through the house.The officers in this team were given different assignments and stacked in such a manner as to best accomplish their assigned function. Trooper Lunz, in the front of the stack, had a breaching ram, a tool designed to gain entry through the front door. Next in the stack was Trooper Zonghetti, carrying a shotgun loaded with less lethal ammunition, and Trooper Dubuc, armed with a 40 caliber, MP-5 automatic rifle. In the rear of the stack was Trooper Alonga and Trooper Faughnan, each assigned a K-9 partner.
At the same time the breach and hold team was entering the front door, the officers on the rear porch would breach the sliding door leading into the back bedroom, enter the back bedroom and search for the child, attempting to isolate Sullivan from the child. This team was called the deliberate action team. As with the breach and hold team the members of the team was given individual assignments. Trooper Orlowski was provided with a breaching tool and given the assignment of breaching the rear sliding door. The other officers would enter the bedroom once the breaching was complete.
While the breaching of the front and rear entrances was occurring, Trooper Delehanty, who was situated on the roof, would deploy a noise-flash diversionary devise, commonly known as a stun grenade, through the roof window into the living room area. The purpose of this diversionary devise was to distract Sullivan, allowing time from the team entering the rear bedroom to locate the child. It was further agreed that the command to enter would be given by Master Sergeant Lewis when the suspect was observed to be on the living room couch.
At approximately 6:55 a.m. Trooper Delehanty, from the roof communicated his observation that the suspect was now on the couch. Master Sergeant Lewis, upon receiving this information, gave the order to execute the plan. With that command, Trooper Lunz struck the front door with the ram, causing the door to immediately open. He stepped aside allowing Trooper Zonghetti and Trooper Dubuc to enter first. Trooper Lunz then dropped the ram, drew his assigned weapon, a Sigarms, Model P-229 40 caliber semi-automatic handgun, and entered the house. Trooper Lunz was able to observe the suspect in the living room, with a sword in his hand and he heard other members of the breach and hold team ordering Sullivan to drop his weapon. Trooper Lunz in his report then described what happened:
“At this point this Trooper could observe John Sullivan start to swing the sword back and forth as he advanced towards Troopers Dubuc and Zonghetti as well as this Trooper. At this point, this Trooper along with both Troopers Dubuc and Zonghetti backed away from the thresh-hold of the front door, due to the advancement of John Sullivan. John Sullivan did not pass through the thresh-hold of the residence during his advancement. All three of us at this point were continuously giving verbal commands for John Sullivan to drop the weapon. Again, John Sullivan would not comply with these commands. John Sullivan then backed into the living room. Again Troopers Dubuc and Zonghetti and this Trooper advanced into the thresh-hold of the door. Once again John Sullivan charged towards us swinging the sword back and forth. Once again the three of us backed away from the thresh-hold of the door, due to John Sullivan’s advancement. Again John Sullivan did not pass through the thresh-hold of the residence during this his second advancement. All three of us, at this point, continued to give John Sullivan verbal commands to drop the weapon. Again, John Sullivan would not comply with these demands. Again Troopers Dubuc and Zonghetti and this Trooper advanced towards the thresh-hold of the door. John Sullivan was standing inside the living room near the couch against the sidewall. This Trooper observed John Sullivan squeeze the handle of the sword and begin to tense up his entire body. Again our verbal commands to drop the weapon were ignored. At this point Trooper Zonghetti deployed less lethal munitions on John Sullivan. This Trooper could see the less lethal munitions striking and bouncing off John Sullivan. These less lethal munitions did not appear to have any effect on John Sullivan.
"This Trooper then observed, heard, and felt a Diversionary Device detonate to John Sullivan’s right. Trooper Delehanty deployed this device from his rooftop position. When this device detonated, John Sullivan proceeded to run out of the living room into what appeared to be a hallway.
“At this point in time this Trooper lost sight of John Sullivan. Fearing for the life of the child hostage, Troopers Dubuc and Zonghetti and this Trooper finally entered the living room of the residence. Prior to any of us reaching the hallway John Sullivan came running back out into the living room stopping in front of the television set. All of us immediately stopped and commanded John Sullivan to drop the weapon. John Sullivan then appeared to tightly grasp the sword with both hands. At this point Trooper Zonghetti had moved himself towards the left sidewall, while Trooper Dubuc was almost against the front window, and this Trooper was inside the living room to the left of the front door. John Sullivan then began to advance towards Trooper Dubuc and this Trooper while swinging the sword. Fearing for the safety of Trooper Dubuc, Trooper Zonghetti, and myself, this Trooper then discharged my weapon on the advancing John Sullivan. This Trooper continued to discharge my weapon until the threat had stopped. During this time the advancing John Sullivan started to fall down, he then began to turn his upper torso to the right before he collapsed to the ground on his left side.”
Trooper Zonghetti, carrying a shotgun loaded with less than lethal rounds, entered the residence upon Trooper Lunz breaching the door. As soon as the door opened he observed Sullivan, armed with a large sword, in the living room. Zonghetti, in his report, described the events leading to the shooting of Sullivan:
“I yelled to Sullivan, ‘State Police - Drop the weapon’. Visibility in the room was clear and lighting in the room was good. Sullivan appeared to be very agitated, clenching the sword with both hands. I also noticed Sullivan’s eyes to be very large and wide open, indicating to me based on my training and experience that Sullivan could possibly be on some type of psychological altering drug. I did not see the child in the room with Sullivan. Sullivan began to swing the sword in my direction and charged toward the open door, I stepped backwards and Sullivan retreated to the back of the room. Trooper Dubuc continued to give Sullivan verbal commands to drop the weapon and get on the ground. I, along with Trooper Dubuc again advanced to the threshold of the front door and again Sullivan charged toward us swinging the sword. We again took several stops back from the door. I positioned myself to the right side of the door and Trooper Dubuc positioned himself on the left. Sullivan continued to clench the sword and swing it in the direction of myself and refused to follow any verbal direction to drop the sword. Sullivan moved toward the door again and I utilized my weapon containing the less lethal beanbag rounds. I shot several rounds from the less lethal shotgun and observed several of the bean bags strike Sullivan in the lower half of his body. I was approximately 8 - 12 feet from Sullivan when firing the less lethal rounds. The rounds appeared to have little or not affect on Sullivan who appeared to only to become more enraged.
“Trooper Delehanty then deployed a diversionary device from a window above Sullivan’s location. The device detonated in the area of the couch near Sullivan. Sullivan turned in the direction of the hallway to the rear of the living room. When Sullivan attempted to leave the living room I believed he was leading in the direction of the child hostage. Fearing for the safety of the child, I entered the house with Troopers Dubuc and Lunz. Upon entering the living room, Sullivan stumbled in the area of the hallway falling to the floor; he immediately got up and swung the sword in the direction of Troopers Dubuc, Lunz and myself. Sullivan was now facing Troopers Dubuc and Lunz and myself. We continued to issue verbal commands to drop the weapon. Sullivan continued to clench the sword and scream undistinguishable words. Sullivan again charged toward Troopers Dubuc, Lunz and myself. I stumbled on debris that was on the floor while moving backwards. I ended up against the outer wall of the house in a seated position on top of debris. I saw Trooper Dubuc to my right with his back also on the outer wall of the house. Sullivan continued to charge in Troopers Dubuc and Lunz’s direction swinging the sword as he approached. I heard several rounds discharged and saw Sullivan fall into Troopers Dubuc’s legs."
Trooper Dubuc also entered the residence with Zonghetti upon the door being breached. He observed, as he entered the home, the armed suspect in the living room. In his report Dubuc described the events that followed:
“I immediately yelled the verbal command: ‘Police drop the weapon and get down’. I continued to yell the commands ‘drop the weapon’ and ‘get down.’ The suspect looked directly at me and charged forward while swinging the sword type weapon and yelling. I took approximately two or three steps backward while still observing the suspect. The suspect then ran to the rear of the room near the TV. I advanced to the threshold of the front door. I continued giving the suspect verbal commands. The suspect again charged forward while swinging the sword. I took approximately two or three steps backwards while still observing the suspect. The suspect stopped and ran to the rear of the room near the TV. I again advanced forward to the threshold of the door.
“I was on the left side of the door frame and Trooper Zonghetti positioned himself on the right side of the door frame. I heard Trooper Zonghetti discharge approximately six less than lethal ‘bean bag’ rounds. I observed the rounds impact the suspect several times in the upper thigh and lower abdomen area. Although the suspect was hit with multiple less lethal rounds he did not appear effected.
"The said rounds seemed to further anger the suspect whose behavior was extremely erratic. The suspect appeared to be enraged or in a drug induced rage.
“TFC Delehanty then deployed a ‘Noise Flash’ diversionary device. The device landed in the area of the couch and detonated. When the diversionary device detonated, the suspect immediately ran in the direction of the hallway toward the rear of the room. When the suspect ran toward the other rooms in the house, I feared that the said child hostage would be either seriously injured or killed by the suspect.
“I entered the house through the front door along with Trooper Zonghetti and Trooper Lunz. Upon entering the room the suspect did a sharp 180 degree turn in the beginning of the hallway and ran back into the family room in the area of the TV. The suspect was swinging the sword in the air while flexing his arms together. I was approximately twelve or fifteen feet in front of the suspect. I again gave the suspect verbal command to drop the weapon and to get on the ground. The suspect then looked at me, flexed his arms together and charged directly at me with the sword in the air.
“In my training and experience I knew that a person armed with a sword type weapon could easily cause serious injury or death.
“As the suspect charged at me I felt that my life was well as the lives of my said teammates were in danger. I discharged my weapon, (H K MP-5, .40 Cal.) to stop the suspect from stabbing or slicing me with the sword. I continued to discharge my weapon until the threat, being the suspect, had stopped. I observed that as I discharged my weapon the suspect was not effected. As the suspect was approximately two feet from me, he began to bend slightly at the waist. The suspect’s momentum did not stop until he hit against my shins. The suspect then rolled over slightly on his side and dropped the sword. The suspect had the sword type weapon in his hand the entire time he was charging at me. When the suspect was on the floor, Trooper Lunz took the sword type weapon from him and placed it on the ground.”
The fourth member of the breach and hold team was Trooper Brian Faughnan. He too gave a written police report stating the events that occurred after the officers entered the breached front door. Trooper Faughnan writes in part:
“This Trooper then observed Trooper Zonghetti raise his less than lethal shotgun and heard Trooper Dubuc and Trooper Lunz giving numerous verbal commands to the suspect to drop the weapons. This Trooper then heard Trooper Zonghetti’s weapon being discharged and observed the suspect moving around due to the impact of the ‘beanbag’ rounds hitting him. This Trooper heard numerous less than lethal rounds being fired. The suspect then ran to his left, deeper into the house. The team members now entered the room and this Trooper approached the team members with his K-9, behind Trooper Dubuc and Trooper Lunz and observed the suspect running into the hallway area. The suspect then returned to the living room seconds later.
“This trooper was approximately one foot from Trooper Lunz and observed the suspect standing deep in the room near a wall. The suspect had his hands crossed holding a knife in one hand and a large sword in the other. The weapons were crossed across his chest. The suspect then flexed or tightened his body and began to charge towards the team members. This Trooper stepped back to allow Trooper Dubuc and/or Trooper Lunz to move. This Trooper then heard gunfire from in front of him. This Trooper observed that the suspect had blood on his shirt and was turning towards Trooper Dubuc. The suspect was still moving. This Trooper observed Trooper Dubuc standing against a wall and was moving his MP-5's stock in an upward position, because the suspect was in a close proximity of Dubuc. The suspect then fell to the ground. Upon entry into the room this Trooper observed the suspect to be laying on his back with blood on the front of his shirt, still holding a knife in one of his hands.”
The final member of this team was Trooper Alonga. He also entered the residence once the front door was breached. He described in his police report the following sequences of events:
“At approximately 0700 hours, the order to proceed with the entry was given by M/Sgt. Lewis. He said that is (sic) was believed that the child was in immediate danger and needed to be helped because of the blood observed in the house. TFC. Delehanty, who was on the roof, could see the suspect. The information received was that the suspect had a sword in one hand and a steak knife in the other hand. TFC. Delehanty was equipped with a flash diversionary device. M/Sgt. Lewis called for the breeched up, which was Trooper Lunz and Stated ‘Execute, Execute’.
“I observed Trooper Lunz proceed up to the front door with the ram. The rest of the stack proceeded up the porch landing. Trooper Lunz struck the front door at the door handle one time and the door was forced open. Once the door was opened we all proceeded to go through the front door. I was slightly off to the left. Immediately after the door was opened, I began yelling State Police get down, State Police get down. While I was off to the left of the front door I saw a large silver blade swing through the threshold of the doorway. As this happened, Troopers Dubuc, Zonghetti and Lunz all stepped back to avoid being hit by the large blade. Everyone was yelling ‘drop the knife, drop the knife’. As those three troopers stepped back, this trooper took one step to the left so as to not crowd the front door landing. I held a position off of Trooper Dubuc’s left shoulder just off the front porch landing and a step back.
“I had my K-9 on my left side being held by with the leash in my right hand. I continued yelling at the suspect to ‘drop the knife’. I could not see the suspect entirely, but could see that the suspect was swinging a large metal object. The suspect then moved out of my sight and into the house. Troopers Dubuc, Zonghetti and Lunz then began moving forward. I could not hear if the suspect was saying anything.
“Upon the suspect advancing us, Trooper Zonghetti began discharging the less lethal munitions at the suspect. All of us kept yelling at the suspect: ‘State Police, drop the knife’. Troopers Dubuc, Zonghetti, and Lunz kept moving forward and then were forced back because of the sword. As they would move back, my line of sight would open and I could see the suspect with the sword. Troopers Dubuc, Lunz and Zonghetti were all spread out on the front porch landing. A noise flash diversionary device was then deployed and detonated inside the house. It was dropped in from the roof through a window by TFC Delehanty.
“At his time Troopers Dubuc and Lunz were now in the doorway area and discharging their weapons at the suspect. Trooper Faughnan held a position with his K-9 directly off the rear of the porch landing behind Trooper Lunz looking straight into the doorway. I saw the suspect fall and heard someone yell for a medic. Lunz and Dubuc proceeded forward with their weapons trained on the suspect. I stepped forward into the threshold of the front door and observed the second team come in from the rear. Trooper Lunz moved the sword away from the suspect with his foot. I then moved the sword further away from the suspect.”
The deliberate action team on the rear porch upon receiving the order of Master Sergeant Lewis began their planned entry. Trooper Orlowski, using the breaching tool, opened the sliding door, allowing the other members of the team to enter the rear bedroom. This unit could hear, but could not see, the events occurring in the living room. While in the bedroom, the members of this team reported hearing the sound of what appeared to be less lethal munitions being fired from the living room. For a brief moment, the team while in the rear bedroom, came in contact with Sullivan. Trooper Voket in his report describes this event:
“The suspect then turned and moved down the hallway towards the advancing deliberate action team. The suspect tripped in the hallway and fell face first to the floor landing with his head looking into the back bedroom where the deliberate action team was. The only visible part of the suspect was his neck and head. Team members gave loud verbal commands to stop, drop the knife, and don’t move. The deliberate action team heard the encounter between the suspect and the breach and hold team and held a position in the back bedroom to prevent to cross fire situation. The suspect immediately got up and moved back towards the breach and hold team.”
Trooper Walkley, in his report, states that after Sullivan ran toward the front of the house, he heard other officers yelling, “Get down, Stop Moving”, followed by several gunshots. He then heard an officer shout that one person was in custody. Upon receiving this information, the deliberate action team began to look for the child. Trooper Walkley reported:
“This Trooper followed directly behind TFC. Voket while we exited the bedroom. TFC. Voket turned right down the hallway while this Trooper turned left. This Trooper immediately observed a door directly in front, which was partially opened. This Trooper made entry into the room and recognized it to be a bathroom. This Trooper then observed that the shower curtain had been pulled closed. This Trooper pulled the curtain to the left and observed the baby’s head had been severed from her body portion and that is was positioned neck down on the floor of the tub to the left of the body. The head had several large laceration to the facial portion. The body was positioned to the right of the head in a supine position. This Trooper recognized that the injuries, which the infant had sustained, were incompatible with life.”
John Sullivan was handcuffed by Trooper Lunz and a call was made for emergency medical personal. The emergency medical personal subsequently entered the house, examined John Sullivan and Jules Ramos and as to both made a presumption of death.
The tactical team members met with Master Sergeant Lewis shortly after the shooting, where they were de-briefed. It was determined that Troopers Lunz and Dubuc had fired their firearms and Trooper Zonghetti had fired his shotgun containing less lethal rounds. Trooper Lunz reported to Lewis, according to the report of Lewis, that he believed that he had fired his weapon three times. Trooper Dubuc reported to Lewis that he believed that he also had fired his weapon three times. At approximately 7:10 a.m. Lewis seized from Dubuc, Lunz and Zonghetti the three weapons used in this incident. Lewis turned these weapons over to the Central District Major Crime Squad later that morning.
As has been previously mentioned, the scene was processed by members of the Central District Major Crime Squad. Police reports were prepared that describe the actions taken and the observations made during the processing. An examination of the exterior of the house, detailed in a house survey report, revealed several noteworthy observations. First the front door was intact, but not secure, with a dent on the door. The south side, main floor slider in the rear of the house was shattered. One of the roofline windows was broken and the casing around another of the roofside windows was removed. All other windows were intact and secured. A screen from the far south window was removed and found on the front lawn.
Numerous photographs were taken inside the residence. The photographs of the living room show a room in general disarray with some furnishings overturned and bedding material strewn on the floor. Also observed in many of these photographs is the location of the body of Mr. Sullivan. His body is observed to be located in the living room, with his head touching the front wall of the room and the feet pointed toward the interior of the room. The body is on his back. The body, at its closest point, appears to be approximately two or three feet from the front exterior door. Close-up photographs were taken of items later seized as evidence.
Photographs of the bedroom of Jules show a crib with a large stain on the mattress that appears to be blood. On the crib railing and on numerous slates red splatter also is present that appears to be blood. The wall adjacent to the crib and window dressings also contained significant blood like splatter. Also noted in several of the photographs is a trail of red bloodlike stains leading to the hall.
In the hallway at the entrance to the bedroom of Jules there was a large red bloodlike stain. Also observed in the hallway are numerous smaller red stains. The large stain previously mentioned is several feet away from the entrance to the bathroom. In the bathroom tub was found the body and severed head of Jules.
Evidence of note that was seized by the processing team included the following: 9 “Federal” caliber bullet casings, 6 bean bag shells, 6 bean bag rounds, a copper bullet fragment found on the chest of Mr. Sullivan, a silver sword with brown handle and red bloodlike staining, a steak knife with red bloodlike staining and an expended distraction canister.
Dr. Wayne Carver, Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Connecticut, was contacted by the Connecticut State Police and arrived at 23 Fall Mountain Terrace on the day of the shooting. While at the scene Dr. Carver did an external examination of the body of John Sullivan and Jules Ramos. Photographs of the scene were taken by Dr. Carver. Thereafter each decedent was moved to the transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington.
An autopsy of the body of John Sullivan was performed by Dr. Carver beginning on the morning of November 8, 2002. Dr. Carver, during his autopsy, was able to identify 18 injuries on the body of Mr. Sullivan. Of those 18 injuries, 12 were described as gunshot wounds and 6 as “cutaneous projectile injuries”. Dr. Carver, following his examination, concluded that on several incidences, one bullet caused two of the observed gunshot wounds. The “cutaneous projectile injuries” are bruises or abrasions which were consistent with the decedent being struck by the less lethal rounds. During the course of the autopsy eight bullets were recovered from the decedent by Dr. Carver. This evidence was turned over to a member of the Central District Major Crime Squad who was present at the autopsy.
Dr. Carver in his autopsy report described the twelve gunshot wounds that he observed and labeled them 1-12. It was not possible to determine the chronological order in which the wounds were inflicted on Mr. Sullivan. The following is a summary of the gunshot wounds:
1. A wound to the right chest, approximately 2 inches from the right nipple. The bullet, upon entering the body, traveled from front to back and somewhat in a downward direction. The bullet was recovered during the autopsy and inscribed “W-586".
2. A wound to the abdomen, approximately 1 3/4 inches to the right of the midline. The bullet traveled from left to right and in a somewhat upward direction for a distance of five inches. The bullet was recovered during the autopsy and inscribed “W-587".
3. A wound to the abdomen, approximately 5 1/2 inches to the right of the midline. The bullet wound is 3 1/2 inches long, with the bullet traveling left to right, somewhat front to back, in a downward direction and then exited the body.
4. A wound 3 inches above and posterior to the right anterior superior iliac spine. The bullet traveled 2 inches, front to back and in a downward direction and exited the body.
5. A wound to the right wrist. The bullet traveled 2 1/2 inches and was recovered in the forearm during the autopsy. It was inscribed “W-588".
6. A wound to the index finger of the right hand.. The wound observed is consistent with the bullet, upon injuring the index finger, re-entering the body in one of the entrance wounds described in wounds #1-#4.
7. A wound to the left forearm. The bullet traveled through the forearm and left the body. The wound observed is consistent with the bullet re-entering the body in one of the entrance wounds observed in wounds #1-#4.
8. A wound to the left shoulder, 9 1/2 inches from the posterior midline. The bullet traveled left to right, back to front and in a somewhat downward direction. The bullet was recovered in the body and inscribed “W-589".
9. A wound to the left side of the chest 10 inches from the posterior midline. The direction the bullet traveled was from left to right, back to front and very slightly downward. At the point the bullet track ends two bullets were observed and recovered. These two bullets were inscribed “W-590" and W-591". It was not possible to determine which of these two bullets caused the wound identified as wound #9.
10. A wound to the left back 4 inches to the left of the posterior midline. The bullet traveled somewhat left to right and back to front. At the end of the bullet track associated with this wound is located the two bullets identified in paragraph #9. Again it is not possible to determine which of these two bullets caused the wound identified as wound #10.
11. A wound to the right back 3 inches to the right of the posterior midline. The bullet traveled from left to right, back to front, in an upward direction. It exited the body and re-entered the body, passing through the left upper arm and into the forearm. At the end of the bullet track is located a bullet inscribed “W-592".
12. A wound to the ring finger of the right hand. The bullet traveled within the right hand and was recovered there during the autopsy. It was inscribed “W-593".
As noted earlier there were six cutaneous projectile injuries observed consistent with being caused by the less than lethal rounds striking the defendant. Dr. Carver noted in his autopsy that four of these injuries were located on the thigh of the defendant and the remaining two were on his forearm.
The autopsy report determined that the anatomic diagnoses to be “Multiple gunshot wounds with injury to extremities and heart, lungs, and liver. Multiple non-penetrating projectile injuries.” The conclusion was that the cause of death was “multiple gunshot wounds."
Dr. Carver, in follow-up conversations, stated that while a number of the gunshot wounds might over a period of time have been fatal if left untreated, only two of the wounds could be classified as fatal wounds. Those are the wounds identified in paragraphs 8 and 9. He also concluded that the various gunshot wounds observed during the autopsy are consistent with nine bullets having struck the decedent.
During the autopsy various specimens were taken from the body of Mr. Sullivan for further analysis. Samples of blood were later analyzed under the supervision of the Director of Toxicology, Dr. Sherwood Lewis. Among the tests performed were tests designed to detect the presence of ethanol, cocaine and/or cocaine metabolites and opiates. A specimen of blood was also sent to an outside laboratory to test for the presence of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide). The report of Dr. Sherwood concludes that all of these tests were negative. The only drug detected by any of the tests performed was caffeine. If, as John Sullivan had claimed, he had ingested the drug “ecstasy” earlier in the evening, the laboratory tests performed would have been expected to show evidence of that fact.
Dr. Carver also performed the autopsy on Jules Ramos. He noted in his report that the head of Jules had been completely severed from her body. In addition to the decapitation, he also observed ten chopping wounds to her face. Five of these wounds were on the left side of her face and five to the right side of her face. The injuries to the left side of her face are parallel to one another and roughly horizontal in orientation. One of the wounds is described as passing deeply through the skull, with a skull fracture associated with this. The five wounds to the right side of Jules’ face are similar in orientation and size to each other but superficial.
Dr. Carver described the anatomic diagnoses as being: “Multiple chopping-type incised injuries. Extensive injury to brain and skull. Decapitation”. The cause of death is reported as being: “multiple sharp force injuries of head and neck”.
Numerous pieces of seized evidence were submitted to the State Police Forensic Laboratory for testing. The Firearms Section examined the three firearms involved in this shooting, the eight bullets recovered during the autopsy, and the nine firearm casings and the six bean bag shells seized at the scene. A written report detailing the conclusions reached was thereafter produced. In this report the firearms examiner concluded that the three weapons test-fired without malfunction. They also concluded that the weapon carried by Trooper Dubuc, a Heckler and Koch automatic pistol, Model MP5/40, fired the bullets identified as “W-586", “W-588", “W-589" and “W-593". The examiner also concluded that the weapon carried by Trooper Lunz, a Sigarms semi-automatic pistol, Model P-229, fired the bullets identified as “W-590", “W-591" and “W-592". The remaining bullet recovered, “W-587", had similar class characteristics as Trooper Lunz’ weapon, but lacked the individual characteristics markings necessary for a positive identification. An examination of the nine casings recovered at the scene revealed that five of the casings were fired in Trooper Dubuc’s firearm and the remaining four casings were fired in Trooper Lunz’ firearm. The six bean bag shells were examined and found to have similar class characteristic as the shotgun carried by Trooper Zonghetti, but positive identification was not possible.
Criminalists from the laboratory also examined the t-shirt worn by Mr. Sullivan at the time that he was shot. An examination of this shirt revealed that there were nine major holes in the shirt. Of those nine, the criminalists were able to identify, through microscopical and chemical methods, five as being consistent with having been created by a discharged firearm, while the remaining four could not be classified. None of the holes observed were consistent with a firearm being in contact with the t-shirt at the moment the bullet hole was created. Rather, the results of the examination, as to four of the holes, were consistent with the muzzle of the weapon being less than five feet from the t-shirt at the time these holes were created. The criminalists, as to the fifth hole, could not determine the distance between the muzzle of the weapon and the t-shirt.
Based on a review of the investigation the undersigned makes the following findings of fact:
In the early morning hours of November 7, 2001 John Sullivan arrived unannounced at 23 Fall Mountain Terrace. During the time that he spent with his sister Jessica, John Sullivan exhibited strange, paranoid-like behavior that rightfully concerned her. She took numerous actions intended to calm him. At approximately 4:30 the behavior of Mr. Sullivan suddenly became more bizarre and threatening, causing Jessica to flee her home and call the police.
John remained locked in the house from 4:30 a.m. until 7:00 a.m., when the police breached and entered the residence. At some point in this time period John Sullivan murdered his niece, Jules Ramos. Based on the amount and type of staining present in and about the crib, it is apparent that Jules was attacked while in the crib. She suffered serious and probably fatal injuries at that location. Thereafter, John Sullivan took the child into the hallway where he inflicted additional physical injury to Jules, probably decapitating her at that time. He then placed the body of Jules in the bathtub. In so far as both the sword and the steak knife had red staining on them, it is likely that both were used to inflict bodily harm to Jules.
It is impossible to know the precise time when Jules was murdered. Based on several pieces of evidence it is most likely that she was killed soon after Jessica Sullivan fled the house. This evidence includes that John Sullivan was in possession of a sword as his sister was fleeing the house, the threatening comments made to the first responding officers, the statement made to his grandmother, the blood stains observed by the State Police soon after their arrival and finally the fact that none of the witnesses reported hearing the sound of a child at any time during this crisis.
The local and state police, upon arriving at 23 Fall Mountain Terrace found themselves in a precarious situation. John Sullivan was armed and had locked himself inside the home with a 2 year old child. He has acting in a highly bizarre and irrational fashion and making threats. He had a history known to the police of violence, weapon possession and drug use. The situation should have been and was recognized as being extremely serious and potentially dangerous to the child and to the responding officers. When the police observed through two windows stains that appeared to be blood, their cause for concern could only be heightened.
Once efforts to establish communication and a negotiating dialogue with John Sullivan had been tried and had failed, the decision of the State Police to prepare and execute a strategy to enter the residence and rescue the child was reasonable. The police possessed information that necessitated rapid action, including that the defendant was armed, he was acting in an erratic manner, he had made numerous threats, blood had been observed in the house, Sullivan did not appear to be injured and no sound from a child had been heard. Given this evidence, a reasonable conclusion would be that Jules was, at best, injured, and in need of immediate medical treatment. Any decision that perpetuated the status quo would, under the circumstances, have been unreasonable.
The State Police devised a plan calling for simultaneous entries into the house from two locations and the introduction into the living room of a stun grenade. The purpose of this plan was to confuse the suspect, permit the police to place themselves between John Sullivan and Jules, to rescue Jules and subdue the suspect. The plan as presented would appear to have reasonable objectives and be reasonably suited to achieve these objectives. Given the situation as the police understood it to be, the plan was reasonable.
The breach and hold team, upon gaining entry into the residence, came into contact with John Sullivan. The available information reveals that Sullivan was continuing to engage in the violent and bizarre behavior that he had demonstrated over the past several hours to numerous witnesses. Sullivan was armed with a sword and a steak knife and was waving them about.
The undersigned has read the reports of the various officers inside the residence at the time of the shooting and finds them to be reasonably consistent and credible. Their reports are also consistent with the physical evidence gathered during the investigation, the statements taken from lay witnesses and the autopsy report prepared by the Chief Medical Examiner. Sullivan ignored numerous commands to drop his weapons from individuals clearly identifiable as law enforcement personal. He continued to engage in conduct that reasonably would be seen as threatening and posing a danger to the officers. The officers, faced with an armed and dangerous individual, first attempted to subdue him with less lethal projectiles fired from a shotgun. The evidence seized at the scene and the autopsy findings support a conclusion that 6 less lethal rounds were fired at and struck Sullivan. This tactic did not lead to reducing or eliminating the danger posed by Mr. Sullivan.
After the firing of these less lethal rounds, Sullivan advanced toward the officers, swinging his sword. It is impossible to know the exact position of all of the officers when firing commenced but it appears that one or more of the officers was backed up against the interior wall of the living room. From that location, with an armed Sullivan moving quickly toward them, there was no reasonable action for the officers to take other than to discharge their firearms. An escape to the outside would have been dangerous to the officers and its success uncertain.
Section 53a-22(c)(1) of the General Statutes permits a peace officer to use deadly physical force when he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to “defend himself or a third person from the use of imminent use of deadly physical force”. The undersigned finds that Troopers Lunz and Dubuc reasonably believed that deadly force was necessary to protect themselves and other officers from the use of imminent deadly physical force by John Sullivan. In fact the undersigned believes that if deadly physical force had not been used, one or more of the officers present in the living room would probably have been seriously injured or killed. Given this finding it is not necessary to decide whether the use of deadly physical force was also justifiable under Section 53a-22(c)(2) of the General Statutes.
The undersigned finds John Sullivan was shot a total of nine times by the officers involved, five times by Officer Dubuc and four times by Officer Lunz. Edward Jachimowicz, Firearms Examiner for the State Police Forensic Laboratory, told the undersigned that the two weapons used in this incident could discharge the nine bullets in less than one second. That these weapons were fired rapidly that morning is supported by the written reports of witnesses who heard the gunshots. Three of the gunshot wounds were located at the back of the decedent. Based on the results of the forensic examination and the autopsy, it is concluded that these wounds were caused by bullets fired from the weapon of Trooper Lunz. These three bullets after entering Mr. Sullivan traveled from left to right, which is consistent with the various reports that Lunz was located at the time of the shooting to the right of Trooper Dubuc. Trooper Lunz’ report states that Sullivan, as he started to fall down, turned his torso to the right and landed on his left side, which is also consistent with the wounds described. Given all of the circumstances, including the speed in which these weapons could be fired, Dr. Carver’s conclusion that only two of the wounds were immediately fatal, the location of both officers, and the twisting motion of Sullivan as he fell, the undersigned concludes that the number and location of the gunshot wounds does not alter the conclusion that the shooting was reasonable.
It is beyond the scope of this report to determine the motive for the actions of John Sullivan. Although it would be reasonable to believe that given the actions and the drug history of John Sullivan, that drugs played a role, the fact remains that extensive toxicological testing failed to detect any evidence of drug usage on the night in question. The statement of William Lambert documents that Sullivan was experiencing bizarre mood swings, apparently uninfluenced by drugs, while in California. His actions in the hours preceding his death, documented by many, defy logical or easy explanation.
The officers of the Emergency Services Unit were called to the scene of a volatile hostage situation. John Sullivan that morning was a violent, irrational and unpredictable individual. In a effort to save the life of an innocent child the officers placed their lives in danger. Through no fault of their own their efforts to save Jules were futile. Nonetheless, their bravery in facing danger to fulfill their responsibilities as a protector of the public safety should gain them the respect and admiration of all.
No further action by the Division of Criminal Justice will be taken.
Dated at New Britain, Connecticut this 11th day of April, 2002.
Scott J. Murphy
Footnote: This weapon is described by various witnesses as being either a sword or a machete. All these witnesses are referring to the same item. In this report this weapon is called a sword. (Go Back To Text of Report)