Report of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Hartford Concerning the Shooting Death of Ruddy Lora, a.k.a Juan Gonzalez, in Hartford on July 2, 2003, Issued Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 51-277a
March 17, 2005
Circumstances of Incident
On July 2, 2003 at approximately 6:00 p.m., Officers Andrew Jacobson and Richard Salkeld were traveling north on Evergreen Avenue in Hartford when they were approached by a victim of a hit and run accident. The victim indicated that he had just been involved in a motor vehicle accident on Evergreen Avenue and that the other party left the scene in a small red vehicle. Officers Jacobson and Salkeld began investigating the incident and located the bumper of the red vehicle on the street in front of 61 Evergreen Avenue. The officers then were alerted that the suspect vehicle was exiting the rear of 41 Evergreen Avenue and the officers observed the victim of the motor vehicle accident in an argument with the operator of the small red vehicle.
Officer Jacobson approached the operator of the red Hyundai Excel, later identified as Ruddy Lora, and attempted to interview him about the accident. Lora immediately became nervous and evasive and attempted to walk away from the officers. Officer Jacobson approached Lora, stopped him from leaving the scene, and escorted him to the front of the red Hyundai. Based upon these circumstances, Officer Jacobson asked Lora to place his hands onto the vehicle while he interviewed him. Lora refused to place his hands on the vehicle where the officers could see them. When Officer Jacobson attempted to pat him down for weapons, Lora became aggressive and reacted by pushing off of the car and resisting. Officer Jacobson gained control of one arm and Officer Salkeld began to assist in the attempt to subdue Mr. Lora. Both officers struggled to gain control of Lora and secure him in handcuffs resulting in Mr. Lora being sprayed with pepper spray. Lora became even more aggressive and Officer Jacobson seized Lora around the upper arms and asked Salkeld to radio for back-up assistance. As Officer Salkeld stepped back from the struggle to request back-up, Lora was able to gain control of a handgun he had hidden in his front waistband and fire it several times, striking Jacobson in both legs. Lora and Officer Jacobson fell to the pavement area with Lora still holding the handgun and pointing it at Officer Jacobson. At this point in time, Officer Salkeld drew his weapon and fired several shots at Lora, striking him at least four times. Officer Salkeld then kicked Lora’s weapon away from him. Lora died from his injuries. Officer Jacobson was treated for gunshot wounds to his legs.
Use of Deadly Force
Witnesses described the involved officers’ demeanor as being calm and professional when they began to interact with the deceased. The aggressive behavior of the deceased required an escalation of their level of response. It appears that this escalation was appropriate and the use of deadly force was used only in response to the production and use of a firearm by Mr. Lora.
Under the circumstances detailed herein, the use of deadly force by Officer Richard Salkeld was justified under CGS §53a-22 and there appear no grounds for criminal prosecution. This report is meant only to address that issue.
Further Action by Division of Criminal Justice
An Inspector from this office responded to the scene of the shooting and was directly involved in a re-enactment of the shooting. Based upon his observations and the report of the investigation furnished by the Hartford Police Department, which appears to have been done in a thorough and professional manner, there are no grounds for further action by the Division.
James E. Thomas