Report of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of New Britain Concerning the Shooting Death of Anthony Newfield in New Britain on July 23, 2002
January 24, 2003
Acknowledgements | Introduction | Summary of the Evidence | Applicable Law | Findings of Fact | Conclusion
In issuing this report concerning the death of Anthony Newfield, the undersigned received important assistance from a number of state agencies. These agencies include the Connecticut State Police, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and the State Police Forensic Science Laboratory. Their assistance and expertise permitted the undersigned to have a complete and thorough investigation into this tragic event. In addition, I would like to acknowledge the assistance of the members of the New Britain Department, all whom fully cooperated with the State Police and the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office and provided all information requested of them.
I wish also to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Anthony Newfield on the loss of their loved one.
On the night of July 23, 2002, at approximately 8:10 p.m., Officer Michael Conway of the New Britain Police Department, while on duty, responded to a call for services at 52 Farmington Avenue, New Britain, Connecticut. At that location he encountered Anthony Newfield and during the ensuing incident shot him, thereby causing his death. The New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office was promptly notified of this incident and personnel from that office responded to the scene. The undersigned, upon being advised of the incident and that Mr. Newfield would be unlikely to survive his wounds, requested that the Connecticut State Police conduct an investigation into the shooting of Mr. Newfield. This decision was made pursuant to General Statutes Section 51-277a(c), which requires the State’s Attorney to conduct an investigation, utilizing appropriate law enforcement agencies, whenever a peace officer, in the performance of his duties, uses deadly physical force upon another person and such person dies as a result. This statute requires the State’s Attorney to determine, upon completion of the investigation, the circumstances of the incident and whether deadly force was appropriate under Section 53a-22 of the General Statutes.
The New Britain Police Department, upon learning of the shooting, immediately dispatched additional officers to 52 Farmington Avenue who began to investigate the incident. Their duties included securing the scene and identifying and interviewing witnesses. Officers from the Central District Major Crime Squad of the Connecticut State Police arrived in New Britain shortly after 10 p.m. on the night of the shooting and the investigation was then turned over to them. They were briefed on the incident by officers from the New Britain Police Department and thereafter commenced their investigation.
The State Police, on the night of the shooting, processed the scene at 52 Farmington Avenue. In addition, that night and on subsequent days, they conducted numerous interviews of witnesses. An autopsy on the body of Mr. Newfield was performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and a report of that autopsy was subsequently written. The State Police Forensic Science Laboratory conducted several examinations on physical evidence and written reports were thereafter generated.
Upon completion of their investigation, the State Police provided to the undersigned their investigative results, including police reports, written witness statements and reports of forensic tests performed. After reviewing all pertinent documents and pursuant to Section 51-277a(c) of the General Statutes, this report is hereby filed.
At the time of his death Anthony Newfield was 34 years of age, living with his mother and her husband at 52 Farmington Avenue, 1st floor apartment, in New Britain, Connecticut. Both his mother and step father had significant chronic medical problems. Newfield was employed as a laborer for Priority Contractor Services, located in Burlington, Connecticut. On July 23, 2002, Mr. Newfield arrived at his place of employment at approximately 6:30 a.m. and worked until approximately 3:00 p.m. At that time he left Burlington in his red Thunderbird automobile, registration 500-PWN and arrived, one half hour later, at his home, 52 Farmington Avenue, New Britain. He stayed there only a few minutes and then left the residence.
Mr. Newfield was next seen at 6:00 p.m. at 40 Dewey Street, New Britain, the home of Stephen Hayes. Mr. Newfield was drinking beer and was described by an eyewitness as being intoxicated. Mr. Newfield subsequently left 40 Dewey Street and drove his vehicle to Plainville.
Shortly after 7:00 p.m., Mr. Newfield drove to 226 Commonwealth Avenue in New Britain where he encountered James Hubbard and his brother Nicholas Hubbard. While there Mr. Newfield broke a pane of glass in the front door, which caused James Hubbard to call his fiancee, Wendy Gomes, requesting that she contact the New Britain police. Mr. Newfield left the area before the police arrived.
At approximately 7:45 p.m., Mr. Newfield returned to his home at 52 Farmington Avenue. At this location he engaged in tumultuous behavior with his mother, Judith Grundwalski and her husband, Richard Grundwalski. This caused Mrs. Grundwalski to contact the New Britain police complaining about the actions of her son. A few moments later Mrs. Grundwalski again called the police dispatcher and provided additional details about her son and his actions. As a result of these calls, Officer Michael Conway was sent to 52 Farmington Avenue.
Upon his arrival at 52 Farmington Avenue Officer Conway retrieved from his trunk his department issued AR-15 rifle. He then observed Mrs. Grundwalski exiting the house. Officer Conway approached the porch area where Mr. Newfield was located. Thereafter, Officer Conway fired his weapon three times, striking Mr. Newfield. Mr. Newfield was taken by ambulance to New Britain General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:13 p.m.
Processing of the Scene
Members of the Central District Major Crime Squad of the Connecticut State Police processed the scene, 52 Farmington Avenue, 1st floor apartment, and the surrounding curtilage during the early morning hours of July 24, 2002. This work began after a warrant authorizing the search of the premises was issued by a Superior Court judge. This processing including a survey of the area, the drafting of a sketch map, videotape and still photography of the scene, and the identification, seizure and cataloguing of numerous pieces of evidence. Police reports were written detailing the processing of the scene.
52 Farmington Avenue is a three story, multi-unit dwelling located at the corner of Farmington Avenue and Miller Street. The first floor apartment consists of a living room, a kitchen, two bedrooms, two baths and an enclosed front porch. The main entry to the apartment faces the corner of Farmington Avenue and Miller Street. This door opens into the enclosed front porch. A second door allows entry from the porch into the living room.
The State Police, in examining this porch, observed blood-like spatter on the floor, on two walls, on window shades and on a sofa. The sketch map and photographs taken of the porch show the spatter on the floor beginning at the outside door and leading toward the living room door. Two knives, with blood-like staining on the handle and blade were found on the floor of the porch. One knife was described by the State Police as being a black-handled "Scubapro" knife with a six-inch blade. The second was a "Marks Pro 5100" kitchen knife with a black handle and an eight-inch blade.
On the living room floor was found a large blood-like pattern, approximately eight feet by five feet. Debris left by emergency medical personal was found on the floor near this blood stain. A pattern of blood-like drops was found in the living room, the dining area, the kitchen and the master bedroom. A large amount of blood was found in the master bedroom, with blood-like drops on clothing lying on the bed.
On the kitchen table an overturned plate with spilled perogies was observed. Blood-like staining was observed on the plate and the placemat. In searching the two bathrooms and the second bedroom the police did not observe any blood and there were no signs of a disturbance. In the second bedroom an empty knife sheath was found hanging from the wall by the head of the bed.
Outside the apartment the State Police located and seized three expended FC223 REM shell casings. Photographs taken of the scene show the location of these three casings to be to the right of the doorway leading into the front porch. The sketch map report states that one of these casing was located five feet, five inches from this doorway, the second casing was located eight feet, four inches from this doorway and the third casing was located eleven feet from this doorway. Also located on the lawn, on the Miller Street side of the apartment, was a cordless telephone headset.
A red Thunderbird automobile was found parked in front of a garage in the rear of 52 Farmington Avenue. This vehicle was searched by the State Police. The video taken of the scene, and the accompanying narrative, establish that blood-like splatter was observed inside the vehicle.
Jeffrey LaChance was the supervisor of Anthony Newfield at Priority Contractor Services, located in Burlington, Connecticut. Mr. LaChance was interviewed by the Connecticut State Police on July 25, 2002. The following information is derived from a police report of this interview.
Anthony Newfield had been employed as a laborer at Priority Contractor Services since June 3, 2002. On the morning of July 23, 2002, he arrived at work at 6:30 a.m. Newfield worked a full day, operating a bulldozer at a worksite in Burlington in the company of his boss. At approximately 3:00 p.m. Newfield and LaChance returned to the company headquarters and Newfield left work soon after in his red Thunderbird automobile.
LaChance reported that Newfield did not act in an unusual fashion that day. He had never seen Newfield intoxicated and opined that Newfield was the best worker he ever had.
Steven Hayes of 40 Dewey Street, New Britain, was interviewed by the Connecticut State Police in the early morning hours of July 24, 2002. The following information is based on a police report of the interview of Mr. Hayes.
At approximately 6:00 p.m. on July 23, 2002, Mr. Newfield arrived at the home of Mr. Hayes, obviously intoxicated, drinking a 40-ounce beer. Mr. Hayes described Newfield as being emotional and distraught. Also present at this location was Robert and Brian Stewart. Approximately one half hour after arriving, Newfield left in his vehicle to transport the Stewart brothers to their home. A short time later Newfield arrived back at 40 Dewey Street but left again and did not return. Hayes stated that when Newfield was intoxicated it was common for him to play with knives, acting like a ninja.
Robert and Brian Stewart
The two Stewart brothers were interviewed by the Connecticut State Police on July 24, 2002. The following information is based on a police report of this interview.
On the evening of July 23, the Stewart brothers met Anthony Newfield at the home of Steven Hayes, 40 Dewey Street, New Britain. Newfield, while at this residence, consumed a 40-ounce bottle of beer. Newfield then left for a brief period of time, returning with another 40-ounce bottle of beer. Brian Stewart fixed the radiator hose on Newfield’s automobile and then Newfield gave the Stewart brothers a ride to their home in Plainville. They noticed that Newfield was drinking a bottle of beer while driving them and that another full bottle of beer was on the rear seat of Newfield’s car. They arrived at the residence of the Stewart’s at 6:30 p.m. and Newfield then drove away. They understood that he was on his way to visit James Irwin, who also lived in Plainville.
Both Stewart brothers told the police that in their opinion Newfield was intoxicated that evening. They also stated that from past experience they knew that when Newfield was intoxicated his personality changed, becoming intimidating, loud and argumentative.
James Irwin was interviewed by the Connecticut State Police on July 24, 2002. The following information is based on a police report of this interview.
On the evening of July 23, 2002, at approximately 7:00 p.m. Anthony Newfield arrived at the home of Mr. Irwin. Irwin noted that Newfield kept repeating himself and appeared to be intoxicated. Newfield stayed at the Irwin residence for about 15-20 minutes and Irwin then asked him to leave. Newfield complied with this request.
James Hubbard was living at 226 Commonwealth Avenue, New Britain on July 23, 2002. He provided a written statement to the New Britain police on the night of the shooting and, later, in the early morning hours of the same night, he gave a written statement to the Connecticut State Police. The following information is taken from these two statements.
On the evening of July 23, 2002, James Hubbard was at his home with his brother Nicholas watching television. He observed, at approximately 8:00 p.m., Mr. Newfield drive his vehicle up onto the front lawn, get out of the vehicle and walk to the front door. Newfield began to bang on the door but Hubbard decided not to open the door, believing that Newfield was there to "start something". Banging on the door, Newfield caused the door to open and he then proceeded to step into the home, asking to speak to Hubbard. Hubbard walked over to Newfield and as a result of seeing and smelling Newfield concluded that he was intoxicated. He told Newfield to leave and began to close the door. Hubbard did this because he feared, given the condition of Newfield, a fight between them would occur. Newfield stepped back and Hubbard got the door closed.
Newfield then began to bang again on the front door, this time causing the glass to break. Hubbard announced that he was calling the police and picking up a disconnected phone, pretending to call the police. Newfield continued to ask to speak to Hubbard, but then left when Hubbard said that the police were on the way, spinning his automobile tires and "driving like a maniac". After Newfield left, Hubbard went to a neighbor’s house, using their phone to call his girlfriend, Wendy Gomes. He asked her to contact the police.
James Hubbard had known Anthony Newfield for about 10 years and during this time had seen him intoxicated. Hubbard told the police that when sober Newfield was a great person, but he was a mean drunk, becoming, when intoxicated, very violent. Newfield was one of the toughest persons Hubbard knew and he told the police that Newfield was knowledgeable about karate and pressure points.
Nicholas Hubbard was living with his brother James at 226 Commonwealth Avenue, New Britain on July 23, 2002. He provided a written statement to the New Britain police on the night of July 23, 2002 and later that night, a statement to the Connecticut State Police. The following information is taken from these two statements.
Nicholas Hubbard had resided with his brother James at 226 Commonwealth Avenue for approximately two weeks preceding July 23. Prior to that time he had lived in the state of Indiana. He had not met Anthony Newfield before July 23, 2002. On that day at about 7:00 p.m., Nicholas was home watching television with his brother when his brother looked out the window and stated that "Tony" was here. James further said to his brother that he didn’t want to talk to "Tony" and instructed Nicholas not to open the door. Soon after that there was knocking at the door, the door opened and Nicholas saw a man standing in the front entrance way. Nicholas, not having ever met Anthony Newfield, did not recognize the person standing there. James Hubbard approached this man, gently coaxed him outside and closed the front door. The man then started to bang on the door, causing the door window to break. James then got up again and told this man to leave. This man then walked over to a burgundy Thunderbird automobile and said that he wanted to talk to James. James continued to refuse to talk to this man and said that he was calling the cops. After a minute or so this man got into the Thunderbird, backed over the curb and drove off. As he did the tires of the vehicle were spinning and sliding.
Nicholas did not form an opinion as to whether "Tony" was intoxicated due to the fact that not having known him previously, he was not familiar with his behavior and mannerisms.
Judith Grundwalski was the mother of Anthony Newfield and at the time of the shooting was living at 52 Farmington Avenue. She gave a statement to the New Britain Police Department on the night of July 23 and was later interviewed by members of the Connecticut State Police. The following information is taken from the written statement given on July 23 and the police report of the State Police interview with Mrs. Grundwalski.
Judith Grundwalski was living at 52 Farmington Avenue on July 23, 2002 with her husband Richard Grundwalski, who is disabled, and her son, Anthony Newfield. At 7:00 p.m. or shortly after, Anthony Newfield arrived at 52 Farmington Avenue. In the home at this time was Mr. Grundwalski, who was watching television in the master bedroom, and Mrs. Grundwalski, who watching television in another room. Newfield was bleeding from his hand and yelling and screaming. It was readily apparent to Mrs. Grundwalski that her son was intoxicated. She told him to "knock it off". Newfield then proceeded into the master bedroom and confronted Mr. Grundwalski. He got close to Mr. Grundwalski, yelling at him and waving his arms around. His hand movements cause blood to transfer onto the shirt of Mr. Grundwalski. Mrs. Grundwalski told her son to leave the bedroom at least six times. Mr. Grundwalski got up to change his shirt and while doing so Newfield shoved him in the chest, causing him to stagger back.
Mrs. Grundwalski, upon observing her son’s aggressive behavior toward her husband, announced that she was calling the police. She went into the living room and from there, using a cordless phone, she called the police. She requested from the dispatcher that an officer be sent to her home. At the conclusion of this telephone call she observed that Newfield was now in the kitchen holding a knife with a long blade. She recognized the knife as one that Newfield called "Rambo" that he kept in his bedroom. Mr. Grundwalski, who was also in the kitchen, asked his wife if she had called the police. Upon receiving an affirmative response, he told Newfield, "Put the knife down, Mom called the police". Newfield did not respond but walked over and picked up a second knife. He then yelled: "Call the fucking police, anyone comes in here, I don’t care, somebody is going to die."
Mrs. Grundwalski then took the telephone, went to the front porch area and called the police a second time. She informed the dispatcher that her son now was armed with two knives, that he was capable of hurting himself or others in his intoxicated condition, and that she knew from previous experience that pepper spray would not affect him. As she was talking to the police, she could hear her son in the house yelling several times, "I’m going to hurt someone today."
Mrs. Grundwalski, while standing on the front stoop of the house, saw a New Britain Police officer, Officer Conway, arrive at the scene in his cruiser. He exited the vehicle and approached the house carrying a rifle. She told the officer that her husband was inside the house with her son, who had two knives. He requested that Mrs. Grundwalski move to the side of the house, which she did. From this position she could see the back of the officer but could not see her son. She then heard the officer say, four or five times: "Put the knives down, put them down, put the knives down." She also heard the officer say: "Please drop the knives". She did not hear any response from her son. She then heard three shots fired from the gun. Knowing what had happened, she moved several feet and collapsed.
Mrs. Grundwalski told the State Police that she did not hold the officer responsible for the shooting as there was nothing the officer could have done.
Mr. Grundwalski provided a sworn written statement to the New Britain Police Department on the night of July 23, 2002. The following information is from this written statement.
Mr. Grundwalski saw his stepson Anthony Newfield at approximately 3:30 the afternoon of the 23rd of July. Mr. Newfield returned home from work and took a shower. He borrowed some money from his stepbrother, Richard J. Grundwalski, and left the home without saying where he was going.
Mr. Grundwalski next saw his stepson later that evening, at approximately 7:45 p.m.. Newfield returned to 52 Farmington Avenue intoxicated and bleeding from the hand. He said that he had gotten into a fight with his friend. Newfield went into the bedroom where Mr. Grundwalski was and "started on" him. He started slapping his hands together in an apparent effort to make a point and thereby splattered blood on Mr. Grundwalski and several items in the bedroom. According to Grundwalski, Newfield was acting very drunk and saying that somebody was "going to get hurt". Newfield then picked up a knife and began to stab at a plate of food, causing the plate to break. He then punched a door and may have stabbed it also. Mrs. Grundwalski then called the police.
Mr. Grundwalski heard his wife tell Newfield that the police were called. Newfield responded, "oh, good", grabbed a second knife and headed toward the front door. Thereafter, Mr. Grundwalski heard a male saying, "put the knife down." This was said, according to Mr. Grundwalski, at least seven or eight times. Mr. Grundwalski was in the kitchen at the time and could hear but not see what was happening. He then heard three or four shots fired. He saw Newfield return to the living room and fall onto the floor.
Mr. Grundwalski stated that when Newfield drinks he is "very mean and belligerent". At these times people are afraid of him and cannot reason with him. Mr. Grundwalski stated that though the officer shot his stepson he does not hold that against him.
Mr. Szul was interviewed by the Connecticut State Police on August 12, 2002. The following is derived from a police report detailing this interview.
Mr. Szul was operating his motor vehicle south on Farmington Avenue at about 8:00 p.m. on July 23, 2002 when he saw a police officer carrying a long gun standing in front of an apartment house. This building was at the intersection of Farmington Avenue and Miller Street. Mr. Szul turned his vehicle onto Miller Street, stopped and watched. He saw a woman with a telephone on the side of the building. The officer was standing alone in front of a doorway. He saw the officer point the long gun toward the doorway and yell loudly about three times, "drop the weapon." Mr. Szul moved his vehicle forward on Miller Street several feet and then heard two or three gunshots fired one right after the other. After hearing the gunfire, he saw the woman collapse. Mr. Szul then drove away from the area.
Ms. McCue lived at 64 Farmington Avenue, which is located on the opposite side of Miller Street from 52 Farmington Avenue. She was interviewed by the New Britain Police Department on the night of the shooting and provided a written statement. The following information is derived from this statement.
Sometime after 8:00 p.m., Ms. McCue, from her apartment, heard some yelling outside. She looked out her window and saw a police officer standing on the sidewalk leading up to 52 Farmington Avenue. He was pointing a rifle at the front door and, in a firm controlled voice, said about eight times, "Put the knife down." She then heard several shots fired. She also observed a woman standing at the side of 52 Farmington Avenue during this incident. She had a telephone and appeared to be crying.
Ms. Schwencke lived at 64 Farmington Avenue in the second floor apartment. She was interviewed by the New Britain Police Department on the night of the shooting and provided a written statement. The following information is derived from this statement.
Ms. Schwencke, while in her apartment, heard some yelling emanating from the area of Miller Street and Farmington Avenue. She heard a male shouting, at least three times, to drop the knife. Looking outside her window she observed a police officer pointing a rifle at the door the house. He continued to yell "drop the knife". As she turned to get her eyeglasses, she heard several gunshots being fired by this officer. She also observed a woman sitting on the lawn near the house crying.
Ms. Jones lived upstairs from the Grundwalski family, at 52 Farmington Avenue, in the second floor apartment. On the night of the shooting she provided a written statement to the New Britain Police Department. The following information is taken from this statement.
On the night of the shooting, at approximately 7:30 or 7:45 p.m., Ms. Jones heard the back door to the house slam. About twenty minutes later she heard somebody say, "put it down, put it down." Then, she heard four or five shots fired. Soon after she saw police downstairs talking to Mrs. Grundwalski.
Ms. Garnett lived in the third floor apartment at 52 Farmington Avenue. She was interviewed by the New Britain Police Department on the night of the shooting and provided a written statement. The following information is derived from this statement.
Ms. Garnett heard the shooting while she was watching television in her apartment. She looked out the window but did not notice the officer. She later saw a woman sitting on the lawn near Miller Street.
Ms. Garnett is the mother of April Garnett and also lived in the third floor apartment at 52 Farmington Avenue. She was interviewed on the night of the shooting and gave a written statement of her observations. The following information is taken from her statement.
On the night of the shooting, she was in her apartment. At about 8:05 p.m., upon hearing a commotion outside her apartment, she looked out her window. She saw below a uniformed officer and heard him shout three or four times, "put the knife down". He was located below the edge of the awning which is right above the front door of the Grundwalski apartment. Then she heard three gunshots. She saw the officer then walk under the awning and disappear from her sight, and several seconds later return to the sidewalk. Soon after additional police arrived at the scene.
Mr. Newfield is the brother of Anthony Newfield. He was interviewed by the State Police on July 7, 2002. The following information is derived from a police report detailing the interview.
Robert Newfield told the State Police that his brother on several prior occasions had kept the police at bay by barricading himself in a residence using a knife. Robert said that he was the only person whom Anthony would listen to and not harm. Robert also knew that when Anthony was intoxicated that he would push his stepfathers around.
Robert told the police that he felt sorry for the police officer who shot his brother. He asked the police to tell Officer Conway that he does not hold him responsible for shooting his brother.
Officer Michael Conway
On July 24, 2002, Officer Michael Conway gave a written statement to the Connecticut State Police. Thereafter, he was interviewed by the State Police on January 9, 2003. The following is a summary of the statement and the police report of the subsequent interview.
Officer Conway was scheduled to work the fourth shift, 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., on the night of July 23, 2002. He was in uniform and assigned patrol vehicle 17. While on duty he was sent to 52 Farmington Avenue by the dispatcher and told that a male was pushing his father around in the house and the suspect was bleeding from the hands. The officer was also advised that the suspect was large, approximately 270 pounds, and would not be affected by CAPSTUN. Prior to arrival at the scene Officer Conway learned that the suspect had been involved in an earlier window breaking altercation at Commonwealth Avenue and that he was armed with a knife.
Officer Conway, upon arriving at the scene, armed himself with an AR-15 rifle kept in the trunk and began to approach the house. He commonly deployed this weapon when the situation involved a suspect who was armed and dangerous. He then observed Mrs. Grundwalski, visibly shaken and upset, exit the front entrance of the house. In response to a question, she told the officer that her son was in the house with her husband.
Upon getting in a position to see inside the enclosed porch, Officer Conway observed Anthony Newfield standing in the porch, bare-chested and holding two six inch knives. He was positioned in a "knife-fighting stance". Conway pointed the rifle at Newfield and ordered him numerous times to drop the weapons but Newfield stated that he was not going to drop the knives. The officer was approximately sixteen feet from Newfield and noticed that he appeared agitated.
Newfield moved forward and attempted to close the porch door which would have caused Conway to lose sight of Newfield. Conway did not want to lose sight of the suspect or the ability to communicate with him, believing that the stepfather was still in the house. He therefore moved forward and pushed the door open using the muzzle of the gun. Newfield, who was now approximately five to eight feet from the porch door, continued to point the knives in a menacing fashion. He began to move forward again toward the officer, remaining agitated and ignoring repeated commands to drop the weapons. Newfield was holding both knives at mid-chest level, with one knife pointing toward the officer and the second knife pointing down, with the blade in front of him. Conway believed that Newfield was attacking him.
When Newfield got between four and eight feet from Officer Conway, the officer fired his weapon three times at Newfield. Newfield, upon being struck, moved backward, dropped the knives and finally collapsed by the doorway leading into the main house. Conway radioed for an ambulance and notified the department that shots had been fired.
Officer Conway stated to the State Police that he fired his weapon because he was in fear of his life. He further stated that retreat was not a viable option because he feared for the safety of Mr. Grundwalski. He feared that if he retreated, Newfield would return to Mr. Grundwalski and either kill him or create a hostage situation.
Applicable New Britain Police Department Policies and Directives
The New Britain Police Department has a written directive concerning the use and deployment of AR-15 rifles. The directive authorizes a police officer to carry an AR-15 rifle provided he has been trained and been certified. Officer Conway was on the list of individuals authorized by the department to carry this weapon. The directive permits an officer to deploy the AR-15 "when in the Officers judgement (sic) and training the Glock Firearm is not the safest or most accurate weapon for the given circumstance..." The directive requires an officer deploying such a weapon to adhere to the department policy on the use of firearms and use of deadly force.
An autopsy of the body of Anthony Newfield was performed by Dr. Malka Shah, Associate Medical Examiner, at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, on July 24, 2002. Dr. Shah, after completion of the autopsy, wrote a report detailing the autopsy and her findings.
Dr. Shah noted in her autopsy report that she found three entry gunshot wounds and one exit gunshot wound. The first entry wound noted was located on the anterior right aspect of the chest. The bullet upon entry, traveled through the body, front to back, left to right, passing through soft tissue and muscle, coming to rest in the soft tissue of the chest. The second entry wound was located slightly superior and medial to the right nipple. The third entry wound was located in the chest area, approximately 2 1/4 inches right of the front midline. The bullets that caused the second and third gunshot wounds merged with each other in the body of the decedent. These two bullets, traveling front to back and right to left, caused injury to both lungs, the diaphragm and the liver. One of the bullets exited the body, leaving an exit wound in the right back of the chest area. The second bullet lodged in right back of the chest area. Because of the merger of these two bullets it was difficult to determine whether the bullet that left the body entered through the second or third entry wound.
Following the autopsy Dr. Sherwood Lewis, Director of Toxicology performed several toxicological tests. An analysis was performed on the blood of Mr. Newfield for the presence of ethanol. Ethanol was found at a concentration of 0.17%. The brain of the decedent was also tested for the presence of ethanol. Ethanol was found at a concentration of 0.10%. Other than caffeine, the testing did not reveal the presence of any other drugs in the body of the decedent. Dr. Shah concluded in her autopsy report that the cause of death was gunshot wounds of the chest and abdomen and the manner of death was homicide.
Recorded Telephone Calls
Three telephone calls pertinent to this investigation were recorded by the New Britain Police Department pursuant to the policy of recording all telephone calls made to the police dispatcher. A transcript of these three calls is presented below.
1. Incoming telephone call between dispatcher and Wendy Gomes
D-New Britain Emergency
W-Hi, um, I’m calling from a cell phone. I’m not at home right now but my husband and um we had an argument with a guy named Anthony Newfield. He just came into my house and smashed all of the windows in my front door. My husband will be there to uh fill out whatever paperwork needs to be filled out.
D-Is Anthony still on scene?
W-I have no idea. My husband just called me from a neighbor’s house. My phones are not working right now.
D-Okay, where do you live? What’s your address at home?
W-226 Commonwealth Avenue. There’s plenty of witnesses there will see what he did. My brother-in-law is there.
D-And this just happened?
W-It just happened.
D-Okay, your husband’s name?
D-Okay and you’re calling from your cell phone?
D-And where are you?
W-Right now I’m across from East Street. I’ll be on my way there shortly. My husband just called and told me to call because we don’t have a phone, so Il.. Be pulling in moments.
D-Okay, you said he just smashed all your windows?
W-All the front windows. My front door has glass windows in it. He was talking so fast, my husband, just said call 911, have him arrested. I’m done with this. So, uh, he drives a red Ford Thunderbird, an older model.
D-Older model red Thunderbird you said.
D-Okay, is there anyway you can call to make sure he’s not there still?
W-I can try to.
D-Okay, I don’t know if you can try contacting a neighbor or something.
W-Yeah I can try contacting my neighbor. Could you hold on this might work, I don’t know if might hang up.
D-It’s not a problem if you hang just call right back on 911.
W-Okay, thank you.
2. Incoming telephone call between dispatcher and Judith Grundwalski
J-Could you please send an officer to my house to calm my son down, please. He’s upsetting my husband. My husband’s got cancer.
D-Okay, what’s the problem.
J-I don’t know. My older son here is yelling and screaming. He just pushed my husband.
D-You’re at 52 Farmington Avenue, 1st floor?
J-Yes. Please. I’ve got a heart condition. I can’t take it every time he gets drunk he’s like this.
D-How old is your son?
D-What’s his name?
J-Anthony Newfield. The cop is going to have a hard time, I’ll tell you right now. I can’t deal with this.
D-He’s pushing your husband?
J-Ya, he just pushed my husband. My husband isn’t hurt or anything but he won’t calm down. He’s drunk. I can’t deal with this.
D-What’s your husband’s name?
J-It’s Richard Grundwalski. My husband isn’t drunk. He’s yelling about pills and money. I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Every time he’s drunk...He’s bleeding. I don’t know what from but I can’t deal with it anymore. I’m going to have another coronary.
D-Where’s he bleeding from?
J-From his hands. He just got blood all over my husband. Please don’t come with sirens because my house will get wrecked. Please.
D-Okay, I have no control over that ma’am.
J-But could you tell the police that my house will get wrecked?
D-I just tell them you’re requesting it but we have no control over that.
3. Incoming telephone call between dispatcher and Judith Grundwalski
J-Yes, I just called about Anthony Newfield.
J. Well, when the cops come, he has a knife in his hand now.
D-He’s got a knife?
D-Stay on the phone with me. (Speaking to second dispatcher) He’s got a knife now.
J-And he’s got my husband in the house. I can’t stay outside.
D-(Speaking to second dispatcher) She’s outside. The husband is still in the house. He’s got a knife.
J-He just broke a plate on the table. He’s drunk.
D-(Speaking to second dispatcher) Broke a plate on the table.
J-You better send a big cop. He’s a big boy.
D-(Speaking to second dispatcher) She said he’s a big boy.
J-You can put pepper spray on him and everything. It hasn’t worked before.
D-(Speaking to second dispatcher) Pepper spray has not worked on him before.
D-And you’re outside?
J-I can’t just stand out here. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the house. I can get in between them but.
D-Okay, we don’t need you to get in between them.
J-I’ve already had four heart attacks. I can’t take this.
D-Okay. I understand that you’ve had four heart attacks but you cannot go back into the house, ma’am.
J-I can’t leave my husband in there. He just had breast cancer. Please, I can’t deal with this.
D-(Speaking to second dispatcher) The husband is sick too. He’s just getting over cancer. The son and father are in the house. (Speaking to Judith Grundwalski) Can you see them through the window?
J-You know how this place is, we live downstairs where the damn studio used to be. It’s like a sun porch. I just don’t know if I can get out quick.
D-(Speaking to second dispatcher) She’s trying to go back into the house.
J-(Yelling at Anthony Newfield) Tony, you better shut up. Tony, put the knife down. Yeah, you better go put the knife down.
D-Ma’am, where’s your husband?
J-He’s by the sink now. He grabbed another knife. They better get here.
D-(Speaking to second dispatcher) He grabbed another knife. Now he’s got two. (Speaking to Judith Grundwalski) Is there anyway for your husband to get out of the house?
J-No. Here comes the cops now. They’re right here. I can get off. (Yelling at Officer Conway) You don’t have to do that. My husband is in there. Yeah my husband is in there.
D-Ma’am, you need to get out of the way.
D-Get out of the way. Let the officers do their job.
J-I will. Oh my god, I just can’t believe. They’re going to shoot my son.
D-Okay, Ma’am. You need to stay out of the way.
J-(crying) Oh my God.
D-Ma’am, walk away from the house. Ma’am.
Three gunshots are heard
J-No! No! No! Oh my God no! Please, please, please help me.
D-Ma’am, Ma’am, we’re sending an ambulance.
J-Please, can you call my oldest son the paramedic? Can you please get a hold of him? Please.
D-Ma’am, we’re sending you an ambulance, okay?
J-I can’t. Can you get my...
J-His name is Robert Newfield. He lives at Eric Court.
D-Robert Newfield. Eric Court.
J-Phone number 223-6137.
J-Please. He’s a paramedic for AMR. Please he can calm his brother. Please.
R-They shot him.
J-(Speaking to Richard Grundwalski) I know they shot him. I’m on the phone. I got to get Robert. (Speaking to dispatcher) Please, please they shot him. I don’t know if my son is dead now. Please, can you call my older son? Get him please.
D-Do you have asthma, Ma’am?
J-No. I got a heart condition. Please can I go into the house?
D-No, stay out of the house.
J-I can’t breathe and my husband is out here.
D-Okay, is there any place you can sit down ma’am?
J-I’m on the ground.
D-Okay, sit down.
J-Then my husband is here please.
D-Sit down Ma’am.
D-Hi, Police Department
D-Okay, do you want an ambulance in route to your wife?
D-Why don’t you want an ambulance for your wife?
R-Oh, yes, yes.
D-Okay, we’re sending an ambulance for your wife.
R-(Speaking to Judith Grundwalski) Is he all right?
R-She’s got a heart condition. She and the officer here are talking.
D-Okay, why don’t you talk to the officer. You can hang up with me. Okay?
Recorded Radio Transmission
A radio transmission between the police dispatcher and several New Britain police officers, including Officer Conway, was recorded pursuant to the policy of the New Britain Police Department to record all such transmissions. The recorded transmission covers the period of time from the report of the disturbance at 226 Commonwealth Avenue to shortly after the shooting of Anthony Newfield.
U=unidentified New Britain Police officers
D-Unit 6. Unit 14
U-This is 14.
D-6 and 14 proceed to 226 Commonwealth, 226 Commonwealth. James Hubbard on a vandalism states that Anthony Newfield just smashed all the front windows of his house. Possibly still in the area. Older red Thunderbird. We’re on with wife now who’s at a different location. Trying to get more info.
U-We’re on it.
D-Unit 17 and 10
D-17 and 10 proceed to 52 Farmington Avenue. 52 Farmington Avenue. Between Ward and Miller. Judith Grundwalski is the complainant stating that her 32 year old son Anthony Newfield seen pushing the father around, yelling about pills and money and bleeding from the hands. 52 Farmington Avenue on the 1st.
U-108. That’s the party from Commonwealth?
D-Correct. Alright. They’re calling back now. Anthony has a knife in his hands.
U-Where is that?
D-52 Farmington Avenue. 52 Farmington Avenue.
U-12. 106 responding
D-Correct. Being advised he’s very large individual and CAPSTUN has not worked on him.
C-17. Do you still have them on the phone?
D-Correct. We’re keeping them.
U-I’m headed over there.
U-Unit 2. Any word on a key?
U-They went through the whole list, negative.
D-Units responding to Farmington Avenue. The caller is outside. The son and the father are in the house. The son still has the knife.
U-All right 13. 101.
U-Unit 10, going over there also.
U-This 12. Go over the numbers again on Farmington.
D-52. Between Ward and Miller.
C-He’s refusing to put the knife down.
D-He’s refusing to put the knife down.
U-21. All units on Farmington ?Avenue on patrol.
D-All units not on Farmington switch traffic.
U-101. What floor?
C-Get me a medic now!
U-Medic is clear to come in.
D-21 is in route and medics are dispatched.
U-21 to 22 can you respond out there also?
U-I’m on my way
U-5 Did you copy? Is it clear to come in?
D-Correct. They are responding will advise when they can enter.
U-101 to 3 Come back and shut the street down Farmington and Ward.
The State Police Forensic Laboratory was asked to examine certain evidence seized in connection with this investigation and perform appropriate tests. The following is a summary of the tests and test findings:
1. The Firearms section of the lab examined the two weapons carried by Officer Conway, a Colt Ar-15 semi-automatic rifle and a Glock semi-automatic pistol, Model 17, Caliber 9MM Luger, the three shell casings found outside of 52 Farmington Avenue, and four bullet fragments recovered from the scene or during the autopsy. The three bullet shell casings were determined to have been fired in the submitted AR-15 rifle. Of the four bullet fragments examined, three had similar class characteristics as the submitted AR-15 rifle but lacked individual characteristic markings necessary for a positive identification. The fourth bullet fragment, being substantially smaller in size than the others examined, could not be further identified.
2. The Forensic Laboratory test fired the submitted AR-15 rifle to determine the casing ejection patterns. It was found that when this weapon was fired parallel to the ground, the average casing ejection pattern was approximately 7 feet, 1 inch to the back and 7 feet, 6 inches to the right.
3. The Criminalistic section of the lab examined the submitted AR-15 rifle and the two knives carried by Anthony Newfield. Through testing it was determined that a reddish-brown stain located on the AR-15 rifle was human blood. Reddish-brown stains located on each of the submitted knives were also found to be human blood.
4. The Criminalistic section of the lab also tested ten swabs submitted by the State Police. Five of these swabs had been brushed against the exterior area around the front door jam of 52 Farmington Avenue as part of a scanning electron microscopy and atomic absorption analysis kit. Lead, barium and antimony were detected on two of the swabs and lead and antimony was detected on two other swabs. The other five swabs had been brushed against the hands of Anthony Newfield. The examination failed to detect the presence of lead, barium or antimony on these five swabs.
Applicable Law Regarding the Use of Deadly Force by Police Officers
Section 53a-22(c) of the General Statutes permits a police officer to use deadly physical force upon another person when he reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force. The test to determine reasonableness is both subjective and objective. First, the officer must believe that the use of deadly force is necessary to defend himself or another from the imminent use of deadly physical force. Second, that belief must be objectively reasonable. See State v. Smith 73 Conn. App. 173, cert. den. 262 Conn. 923 (2002).
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 it was necessary to use deadly physical force and whether such belief was objectively reasonable, based on the facts and circumstances known to the police 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 has explained this test in a civil rights case.
"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 decisions---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 (1989).
Based on a review of the investigation the undersigned makes the following findings of fact:
Anthony Newfield, at the time of his death was living at the first floor apartment at 52 Farmington Avenue, New Britain, Connecticut. He resided with his mother, Judith Grundwalski and her husband, Richard Grundwalski. He was employed as a laborer at Priority Contractor Services.
Mr. Newfield had a significant alcohol problem which caused him, when he drank to excess, to have a changed personality. A check of his Connecticut criminal record showed arrests dating back to 1985 and included convictions for assault, carrying a dangerous weapon, breach of peace, criminal mischief and interfering with police. Police reports revealed that a number of his arrests involved alcohol, aggressive behavior and the threatened use of knives.
On July 23, 2002, Anthony Newfield, between the time he left work and the time he encountered Officer Conway consumed substantial quantities of alcohol, elevating is blood alcohol level to .17%. This caused him to become intoxicated. He visited several acquaintances, all of whom observed his intoxication. He then went to 226 Commonwealth Avenue, New Britain, and caused a disturbance, breaking a window and cutting his hand. Thereafter, he returned home and caused a second disturbance. This involved pushing his father, making threatening remarks, spattering blood and alarming his mother. The blood stains later found in the kitchen and master bedroom were created during this second disturbance. The actions of Mr. Newfield caused his mother to call the police asking for assistance. Prior to the arrival of the police, Mr. Newfield armed himself with two knives.
Officer Michael Conway of the New Britain Police Department was on duty the evening of July 23, 2002, dressed in a police uniform and patrolling in a marked police cruiser. He was dispatched to 52 Farmington Avenue on a report of this domestic complaint. En route he was advised by the dispatcher that Anthony Newfield had minutes earlier smashed out the windows at 226 Commonwealth Avenue, was now pushing his step father around, yelling about pills and was bleeding from his hands. He was further advised that Newfield was a very large individual and that CAPSTUN had not worked on him previously. In addition, he was advised that Newfield had a knife, that Mrs. Grundwalski was outside and that Newfield and the step father remained in the house.
Upon arriving at 52 Farmington Avenue, Officer Conway deployed an AR-15 rifle, which by directive he was permitted to carry, and walked toward the residence. He observed Mrs. Grundwalski, who was outside the home speaking to the police dispatcher on her cordless telephone. She told Officer Conway that her husband was inside the house with her son, who had two knives. He then moved closer to the front entrance to the porch and saw Anthony Newfield inside the porch, bare-chested, holding two knives.
Newfield at this time was intoxicated and in a highly agitated state. He had caused disturbances at 226 Commonwealth Avenue and at 52 Farmington Avenue sufficiently serious that people at both locations had contacted the police. Upon returning to his home he assaulted his step father, armed himself with two knives and made several inflammatory comments, including that somebody was "going to get hurt", "somebody is going to die" and "I’m going to hurt somebody today". Advised that the police had been called, he picked up a second knife and said "good".
Officer Conway, upon observing Newfield in the porch, called for him to drop the weapons. This order was give to Newfield multiple times, but he did not comply. Instead Newfield continued to wave the knives about in a menacing and threatening manner. He then began to aggressively advance toward Conway. Officer Conway discharged his weapon three times in rapid succession, with all three bullets finding their intended target. Newfield, after being shot, moved backward and fell into the living room.
At the moment Anthony Newfield was shot Mr. Grundwalski was inside the first floor apartment. Mr. Newfield was in a position to return to the kitchen and confront his step father. Officer Conway was, and should have been, concerned about the safety of Mr. Grundwalski. Given the behavior of Mr. Newfield both as reported to Officer Conway and as observed by him, the potential for serious physical injury to Mr. Grundwalski if Mr. Newfield returned to the home was significant.
Based on the location of the three shell casings and the results of the forensic testing of the weapon, as well as information supplied by various eyewitnesses, it is reasonable to conclude that Officer Conway, at the time he fired his weapon, was outside the residence but within several feet of the front door leading into the porch. This conclusion is support by the forensic test that showed that lead, barium and antimony, elements present in gunshot residue, were found on the exterior area around the front door and door jam. Based on the location of the blood spatter found in the porch area, it is reasonable to conclude that Mr. Newfield was inside the porch and close to the exterior door when he was shot. It is not possible to precisely determine the distance between the two men at the time of the shooting but Officer Conway’s estimation of four to eight feet is consistent with the available evidence. The presence of human blood found on the rifle of Officer Conway is a further indicator that the two were in close proximity.
Mr. Newfield, on the night of July 23, 2002, was clearly intoxicated, acting in an aggressive manner and voicing threats to cause harm. He continued his aggressive behavior in the face of a show of force from a readily identifiable police officer and demands from him that he drop his weapons. As he moved forward toward the officer it was reasonable for the officer to conclude that his intention was to use these knives against him, thereby causing great bodily harm. Mr. Newfield, being armed and relatively close to the officer was in a position to inflict great bodily harm. Therefore, Officer Conway was justified in using deadly physical force to protect himself.
This investigation made apparent that there were two Anthony Newfields. When sober, he was a good person. He was described as an outstanding worker by his employer and was a loving son and brother. He had many friends who thought highly of him. All these people will deeply miss him and mourn his passing. When he drank however, a different Anthony Newfield emerged. He turned angry, aggressive and unreasonable. The same people who praised a sober Anthony Newfield described him as a "mean drunk", who had a fascination with knives. Tragically, on July 23, Mr. Newfield chose to drink to the point of intoxication. The sad events of that night began with that fateful decision.
No further action will be taken by the Division of Criminal Justice.
Scott J. Murphy