Report of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Middlesex, Concerning the Shooting Death of Jonathan Alvarado on April 8, 2013, in the Town of Westbrook
Acknowledgments | Introduction | Summary of the Evidence | Applicable Connecticut State Police Procedures and Policies | Applicable Law Regarding the Use of Deadly Force by Police Officers | Findings of Fact | Conclusion
In issuing this report concerning the death of Jonathan Alvarado, the undersigned received valuable assistance from a number of state and local law enforcement agencies. These agencies include the Connecticut State Police – Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), the Old Saybrook Department of Police Services, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the DESPP Forensic Science Laboratory, and the Division of Criminal Justice. Their assistance and expertise permitted the undersigned to a complete and thorough investigation into this tragic event.
Section 51-277a of the Connecticut General Statutes provides that whenever a peace officer in the performance of his or her 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 and shall determine whether the use of deadly physical force was appropriate under section 53a-22 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
The Connecticut State Police notified the State’s Attorney’s Office for the Judicial District of Middlesex minutes after the shooting occurred. Inspector Mark Miele and the undersigned from this office responded to the scene to assess the situation. The undersigned, upon being advised that Jonathan Alvarado was deceased, requested that the Connecticut State Police conduct an investigation into the shooting of Mr. Alvarado. The Connecticut State Police Eastern District-Major Crime Squad  led by Sergeant Forrest Ruddy was assigned to conduct the investigation in conjunction with this office. State Police Detective David Lamoureux, upon completion of his investigation, submitted their investigative results to the undersigned, including police reports, witness statements, police video dash camera recordings, an autopsy report prepared by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and reports on scientific testing/analysis conducted by the Division of Scientific Services. After reviewing all pertinent documents and pursuant to Section 51-277a(c) of the General Statutes, this report is hereby filed.
The undersigned State’s Attorney, with the assistance of Inspector Mark Miele, has reviewed all of the information obtained during the course of this investigation and has visited the area of Route 153 in Westbrook where the shooting occurred. The undersigned is aware that Jonathan Alvarado’s death is a great tragedy for his family. Further, the undersigned is aware of the number of months that have passed since the occurrence of this incident and the issuance of this report. The undersigned appreciates the patience of Mr. Alvarado’s family, the Connecticut State Police administration and troopers involved, particularly Detective Scott Wisner whose life was at substantial risk during this encounter with Jonathan Alvarado, along with Sergeant Keith Graham, as well as the Old Saybrook Police administration and their police officers involved in this incident. This is unavoidable given the need for a thorough and complete investigation and review of voluminous reports as well as the need to resolve pending criminal prosecutions resulting from the incidents herein described.
On Monday, April 8, 2013, at approximately 2:42 PM, the Old Saybrook Department of Police Services received a 911 call from Bhima Odera, the manager of the Days Inn at 1430 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook. He was reporting an unknown situation at the Days Inn that involved rooms #121 and /or #122.
Minutes later, Old Saybrook Police Sergeant Donald Hull, Patrolman Ryan Walsh and Patrolman Thanousinh Souriyamath arrived in separate marked police vehicles to investigate. Odera identified to one of the officers that a 2010 Mercury Milan, color blue, traveling in the parking lot, as being involved in the incident. Officer Walsh radioed to others to stop the Mercury as it was attempting to leave the rear of the motel. The vehicle was stopped by Sergeant Hull in the front of the motel.
This portion of the encounter was captured on a dash camera video (no audio) in Officer Walsh's patrol vehicle. Sergeant Hull had indicated that he had the female operator (later identified as Carolyn Barriere) turn off the engine and asked her to exit the vehicle. Sergeant Hull observed two male passengers, one in the front passenger seat (later identified as Sebastian Award) and the other in the rear seat (later identified as Jonathan Alvarado). Once Barriere had exited the vehicle, Award moved himself into the driver’s seat and attempted to restart the engine. Sergeant Hull reached into the open driver’s door and turned off the engine while ordering Award out of the vehicle. A brief struggled ensued between Award, Alvarado and Sergeant Hull. Sergeant Hull sprayed his Oleoresin Capsicum (O/C) pepper spray at Award and Alvarado. Sergeant Hull reported that he sustained a minor hand injury from the struggle as Award began driving away. Award then drove the vehicle out of the parking lot and onto Route 1. The vehicle was later determined to have been forcefully stolen from Barriere by Award and Alvarado. Sergeant Hull and Officer Souriyamath began pursuing the suspects in the stolen Mercury Milan.
Officer Walsh remained at the scene with Barriere, gathering information regarding the events that led up to the incident. Barriere indicated that she and her boyfriend, Christopher Lempicki, had been held against their will at gunpoint throughout the night. Barriere further stated that she and Lempicki had been threatened and robbed by the two men who had just fled the scene in her vehicle. She identified these men as people known to her, one being Jonathon Alvarado and the other known to her as "Seb" (later identified as Sebastian Award). Officer Walsh entered room #122 of the Days Inn to perform a protective sweep, checking for other victims. During this search, Officer Walsh observed in plain view a shovel in the bathtub. No other victims were present in the room. Officer Walsh then went to room #121 and discovered Lempicki hiding. Lempicki corroborated Barriere’s initial statements, saying they had been held captive at gunpoint in room #122 by two men who he identified as Alvarado and Award.
Members of the Connecticut State Police Troop F in Westbrook were notified of the pursuit and State Police troopers and a Westbrook Constable headed to the area of Route 153 in Westbrook. Subsequently Detective Scott Wisner joined the pursuit in his assigned unmarked dark grey Chevy Impala, bearing Connecticut registration 223WHK. Detective Wisner had been traveling north on Route 153 in Westbrook ahead of the suspect vehicle with his rear emergency flashing lights activated. The suspect vehicle came up behind Wisner's vehicle and the two collided in the area of #1015 Route 153 in Westbrook. Both vehicles veered off the road (westerly) and went down an embankment where they came to rest against some trees. The suspect vehicle came to rest on its passenger side doors. Detective Wisner's vehicle came to rest upright with the driver's door in very close proximity to the suspect's glass sunroof, which was apparently shattered upon impact. A police dash camera from Old Saybrook Police Officer Souriyamath’s patrol vehicle captured the pursuit from beginning to end.
Once Detective Wisner’s vehicle came to rest, he realized his duty weapon had been dislodged and had landed on the front floor of the vehicle. When he bent down to retrieve his handgun, he was shot in the left shoulder by one of the suspects shooting at him from inside the Mercury. Detective Wisner stated, "I felt pain in my left shoulder and knew I had been shot. I was still seat-belted in my car and did not want to die." Detective Wisner returned fire with his duty weapon immediately after being fired upon. Based on one account, the gunfire took place at a range of approximately one foot or more, somewhere between the interior compartment and through the broken glass sunroof of the suspect vehicle and Detective Wisner's driver's door window. Moments later, additional police officers arrived and indicated that gun fire was still occurring. A few minutes later, Detective Wisner was removed from his vehicle by responding officers. Detective Wisner was transported to the Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Clinic in Essex where he was treated for a wound from a single gunshot that went completely through his left shoulder. He also sustained an ear injury that may have been caused by a bullet fired by the suspect.
One of the supervisors to arrive at the scene was Sergeant Keith Graham of the Connecticut State Police Troop F. At the time of his arrival, both suspects were apparently trapped inside their overturned vehicle. Responding officers feared for their safety because one or both of the suspects was thought to still be armed. Sergeant Graham had ordered the suspects to keep their hands in view. Sergeant Graham said he could see that Alvarado had a handgun in his reach. Subsequently, Alvarado picked up the handgun and Sergeant Graham shot Alvarado one time. Award, who was seat-belted in the operator’s position, was removed first and rendered first aid. Alvarado who was lying on the right front passenger door area was then removed and rendered first aid. The suspects were later positively identified by Connecticut State Police as Sebastian Award, d.o.b. 09-18-1988, and Jonathon Alvarado, d.o.b. 08-26-1988. Award was later transported by Life Star helicopter to Hartford Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for his injuries. Alvarado was transported by ambulance to the Shoreline Clinic with multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead by Dr. Lynders at 3:35 PM. At the time of the incident, the weather conditions were clear and sunny.
Based on the police reports, the shooting scene wooded area along Route 153 in Westbrook, which included two vehicles, the Days Inn Motel and the Heritage Motor Inn in Old Saybrook were all secured and preserved as potential crime scenes in order for the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad to process and collect physical evidence related to this incident.
Processing of the Scene of the Shooting
On Monday, April 8, 2013, at approximately 5:00 PM and into the following day, members of the Eastern District Major Crime Squad (EDMCS) began to process the scenes that included the wooded area of number 1015 on Route 153 in Westbrook. Additional crime scenes that were processed included the body of the deceased, Jonathan Alvarado, the Days Inn Motel and Heritage Motor Inn in Old Saybrook, the Mercury Milan registered to Barriere’s father and the unmarked State Police Chevrolet Impala operated by Detective Scott Wisner. This processing of scenes included a visual survey, the drafting of a sketch map, videotaping, digital still photography, the identification, seizure and the cataloguing of numerous pieces of evidence and police reports that were written detailing the processing of each of these scenes.
Route 153, also known as Essex Road in Westbrook, is a residential/ rural area. The road typically runs in a north / south direction. It has one lane in each direction with solid double yellow line down the middle of the road separating each direction of travel.
Investigators conducted a thorough and systematic collection of physical evidence at the scene of the shooting. The following items of importance were seized from the ground outside of the Mercury vehicle: a "Zap Baton One Million volts" stun gun, a wooden handle for a handgun displaying a Ruger emblem, and a burgundy/multi-colored comforter. In plain view inside the passenger compartment lying against the front passenger door was a black .45-caliber Ruger revolver which was missing its handle (grips). This is where Alvarado was positioned at the time Sergeant Graham fired a single gunshot at Alvarado. For safety reasons, the Ruger firearm was seized before the vehicle could be thoroughly processed because the vehicle needed to be rolled over in order to be removed by a wrecker to the State Police Troop E barracks in Montville for processing. The handgun was found to be loaded with two live .45-caliber Colt brand ammunition and four spent shell casings inside the cylinder.
At the scene, investigators also seized as evidence, among other things, four (4) hotel room key cards found in the right front pants pocket of Alvarado.
On Thursday, April 11, 2013, at approximately 11:25 AM, EDMCS Investigators returned to the scene where the crash took place. This was done after Award had been interviewed in the hospital and told investigators that there was a second handgun inside the vehicle prior to the collision. This was the same area that police had already searched. During this second search, authorities located an Elli Pietta Black Powder style .44-caliber revolver with a white handle, a gold-colored cylinder and a silver-colored barrel. The gun was found with no ammunition in the cylinder. It was discovered buried in the ground in an area of soft mud that would have been between a tree and where the 2010 Mercury Milan came to rest on April 8, 2013. This handgun matched both Lempicki, Barriere and Award's description of what a second revolver looked like that had been unaccounted for during the initial search. Investigators believe that the handgun may have been ejected at some point in time from the suspect vehicle after the initial impact with Detective Wisner’s vehicle.
Processing of the Days Inn Motel in Old Saybrook
EDMCS Investigators searched Room #122 of the Days Inn located at 1430 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook. A search of the room and area outside the room revealed the following items of significance: rolls of duct tape, rolls of 4ml black plastic, three shovels, packaging for a hand-held hatchet, a brand new machete style sword, an unopened bottle of bleach, a pillow case containing sweat pants, several .45-caliber rounds, a black knit pullover mask, a Blue Guardian Technologies Spectra Ballistic vest, clear plastic disposable gloves, empty and full cans of Budweiser beer and cellular telephones.
Processing of the Heritage Motor Inn in Old Saybrook
Investigators searched Room #11 of the Heritage Motor Inn located at 1500 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, and recovered the following items of significance: glass smoking pipes with residue, a smoking bong, a Budweiser beer can, four .22-caliber rounds and a clear plastic glove.
Processing of the 2010 Mercury Milan (CT- 8C6598)
EDMCS Investigators processed the 2010 Mercury Milan color blue Connecticut combination registration 8C6598, VIN# 3MEHM0JG6AR655041, which was towed to Troop E in Montville where it was secured inside the garage while a search and seizure warrant was obtained.
A search of the vehicle was conducted by members of the EDMCS and recovered items of significance including: a plastic file box with a lid, three gun holsters, numerous rounds of .223-caliber, .45-caliber and .22-caliber ammunition, an empty Glock 9mm caliber extended 20-round magazine, a loaded silver-colored “Sterling Arms” .22-caliber pistol.
Further investigation revealed that the Sterling .22-caliber pistol (serial# E58392) was reported stolen to the Cromwell Police Department on November 12, 2012 (CPD Case #12-10622).
Also located and seized in the vehicle were several cellular telephones, one live 9mm bullet, a silver- colored metal hatchet, a black neoprene Velcro face mask, five (5) broken pieces of a “Ruger” revolver hand grip and metal piece containing a blood-like substance, a metal spring for a revolver, copper fragments, two wallets containing personal papers and identification. One wallet contained $4.00 in cash belonging to Carolyn Barriere and the other wallet belonged to Christopher Lempicki.
Processing of the 2012 Chevrolet Impala (CT- 223-WHK)
EDMCS investigators conducted a vehicle survey of Detective Wisner’s unmarked police vehicle. The report stated among other things that the vehicle sustained extensive damage to the entire left side, front bumper area and the windshield was smeared and streaked with a blood-like substance. There were defects from apparent gunshots to the following areas: driver’s headrest (front and back), rear passenger side door frame (interior and exterior), rear passenger side door (interior and exterior), interior roof, front passenger area, interior post near ceiling, front passenger area and the right front passenger door. Both the left and right front windows were shattered; the right rear window was up and intact; the left rear window was intact and down approximately 4 inches. Police seized a total of eight (8) Federal 45-caliber spent shell casings from within the passenger compartment (CSP Items # 58, #59, #60, #182, #183, #184, #185& # 186).
The undersigned concluded based upon this vehicle survey report and eyewitness accounts at the scene of the shooting that all of the gun shots fired by Jonathan Alvarado must have come from outside the driver’s side area of Detective Wisner’s vehicle and through his driver’s side window. According to written reports by other Troopers who were at the scene at the time of the gun fire, the right front passenger window of Detective Wisner’s Chevrolet was in the up position and intact, and it could not be broken out at the time by Trooper(s) who used a police baton in an attempt to smash it in order to rescue Detective Wisner. The passenger door was somehow unlocked and opened without force by a Trooper. Therefore, the window must have been broken out at some point in time after Detective Wisner was removed from his vehicle.
Processing of the 2000 Nissan X-Terra (CT 287-XLW)
EDMCS investigators conducted a search of Gina Haut’s vehicle with her written consent. Police seized the following items of significance: one pair of rusted bolt cutters, one pair of garden hedge clippers with a rusted blade and one .22-caliber bullet.
Barriere provided details of this incident in a written statement. She stated, among other things, that she and Lempicki were living at the Heritage Motor Inn, which is located within walking distance of the Days Inn. On Monday, April 8, 2013, at about 3:30 AM, she and Lempicki were at home drinking vodka when Lempicki received a text from someone they both knew as Jonathon Alvarado. Alvarado asked if they wanted to “hang out.” A short time later Alvarado and an acquaintance only known at the time to her as "Seb" (later identified as Sebastian Award) arrived at their motel room. After a period of time, Alvarado and Award invited both victims to join them at the Days Inn just up the road. All four walked up the road and entered room #122 at the back of the building. While in room #122, they began to drink beer and talk. She stated that at some point shortly after their arrival, Award pulled out a handgun that had a long gold barrel and possibly white grips. Award continuously cocked and de-cocked the gun's hammer. She further described the handgun as having a spindle on its side. Investigators believe that Barriere was describing a revolver type handgun. Around the same time, Alvarado pulled out his own handgun described as black with a long barrel and resembling the same style as Award’s gun with the spindle on the side. Alvarado had emptied the bullets from his gun and quickly reloaded it with the same bullets. Barriere also reported that Lempicki had recently received a cash settlement from a car accident. Award reportedly told Lempicki that they needed to get money out of his (Lempicki's) bank account in the morning. Alvarado told Barriere and Lempicki that he and Award had to go to Mexico because one of them was facing 14 years in prison and they needed to leave the country. Lempicki stood up and said to the men that he and Barriere were leaving. At that point, Alvarado and Award each pointed their guns at Barriere and Lempicki and told them they were not going anywhere. Award then attempted to use a Taser (electronic stun gun) on Lempicki over his leather jacket. The Taser appeared to have little effect. Barriere said at that point she was scared. Lempicki was told to sit in a chair and Barriere sat on the bed. Barriere said that Alvarado and Award held them captive and continued to point their handguns at them. She stated that Award and Alvarado also showed them an area under the TV in the room that had a pile of black trash bags and duct tape. The men also showed the couple a hatchet that was in the end table drawer between the two beds. According to Barriere, Alvarado told the couple he did not want to have to use these items on them. She stated that Alvarado ordered the two victims to turn over their keys, wallets and cell phones, which they did.
Alvarado then left the motel room and apparently went back to Barriere’s room at the Heritage Inn. When he returned, Alvarado was driving Barriere’s Mercury Milan (CT Combination 8C6598, which is registered to her father). Alvarado also had some marijuana with him that he had taken from her motel room. Alvarado had also returned with an unknown white male who Barriere did not recognize (later identified as Corey Newhook, aka C-Money). They all smoked the marijuana that Alvarado had taken from the room of the Heritage Motor Inn and then Alvarado instructed Newhook to stay with Barriere and Lempicki while Award slept. Alvarado gave Newhook a revolver and the Taser telling him not to let the couple escape. Alvarado had left the room and Newhook watched the couple. Barriere said that Newhook did not verbally threaten her or Lempicki but he held one of the handguns and the Taser in each hand while watching them.
Barriere stated that sometime around 7:00 AM Award was watching over Lempicki’s shoulder as Lempicki used his cell phone to access his bank account. According to her, Alvarado, who was now in the room and Award were disappointed when they saw that there was only about fifteen thousand dollars available in Lempicki’s account. Lempicki was told that he would have to sell his new vehicle (2012 or 2013 Mazda) back to the car dealer and give Alvarado and Award the proceeds. Barriere stated that at some point she had fallen asleep and when she awoke it was about 1:00 PM. At this time, Newhook was gone. Award, Alvarado, Lempicki and Barriere were in the room. Award told them that it was time to go to the auto dealership to sell the Mazda for cash. The plan was for Barriere to stay behind with Alvarado in the room and leave soon after with him in her Mercury to pick up Award and Lempicki after selling his vehicle. Both Barriere and Lempicki both independently told investigators that while they had guns pointed at their heads by Award and Alvarado each feared for their life.
Barriere stated that Award and Lempicki left the room together but Award returned seconds later to grab a cigarette lighter and he left again. This time, Award immediately returned stating that Lempicki had gotten away from him. Alvarado then left the room in search of Lempicki only to return a few moments later appearing very nervous. Alvarado insisted the three of them leave right away. Barriere stated that Award and Alvarado put the beer, guns and Taser in a box and then they all went to her Mercury Milan, which was parked outside. She got into the driver's seat, Award was in the front passenger seat and Alvarado was somewhere in the back. They were both telling her to hurry out of the motel, but before she could get out of the parking lot several police vehicles surrounded her vehicle. Barriere stated that the police officer who approached her asked for her license and asked that she get out of the vehicle. She stated that she complied and tried to whisper to him the word "gun" as a warning. She stated that the officer then approached the front driver’s area of her vehicle and began struggling with who she thought was Alvarado in the front driver’s seat and Alvarado then sped away. Subsequent investigation determined that it was actually Award who was in the driver’s seat and drove away in her vehicle.
Lempicki provided details of this incident in a written statement. He told investigators that he and Barriere were held at gunpoint by Alvarado and Award at the Days Inn and robbed of their wallets, cellphones and keys. He stated that Alvarado Tasered him in the neck, but he did not feel much pain. He said Alvarado and Award had revolvers and drank Budweiser beer in the motel room and smoked marijuana and used crack cocaine. He said that the two men had pointed guns at them indicating they were going to be kept in the motel room until morning. He said that Alvarado held a large black colored revolver. He said that Award held a large silver revolver, with a white hand grip and a gold cylinder. Lempicki described the Taser as looking like a baton, color black with silver plates on the sides. It also had a brass knuckle type handle. In the morning, Award was supposed to take Lempicki to the bank and withdraw all of Lempicki’s funds. Award said that Alvarado would stay in the hotel room with Barriere while they went to the bank. Award told him that he would kill her if anything went wrong. After finding out that his account only contained $15,800.00, Lempicki was informed that he and Award were going to the car dealership to sell Lempicki’s vehicle for cash in the morning. He estimated that it was about 3:30 AM when he was told of the plan. Later that morning, a white male that Award referred to as "C-Money" (aka Corey Newhook) knocked on the hotel room door and entered. Newhook reportedly said to Award, "I can't believe you woke me up to guard these mother fuckers!" Award, Newhook and Alvarado took turns sleeping and watching the two victims. At some point in time, Award called a girl (later identified as Gina Haut) asking her to purchase drugs for him. About thirty minutes later, Haut arrived at the room but did not enter. Award handed her money; she left and did not return.
Later in the day Lempicki and Award started to leave the room to go to the car dealership. Barriere remained held in the hotel room by Alvarado. Lempicki stated that as he was walking out the door ahead of Award, Award told him wait because he forgot something. Award turned and went back into the room leaving Lempicki alone outside the room. Lempicki then looked to his right he saw that the door to room #121 was open. He stated he immediately went into room #121, shutting and locking the door behind him. There was an older white male (Robert Piasecki) in the room. He told Piasecki to call 911 while Lempicki hid in the bathtub, afraid that Award and Alvarado would start shooting. He stated that he waited there for a few minutes and then asked Piasecki if he had called the front desk about him. Piasecki stated that he had not called so Lempicki picked up the room phone and asked the front desk clerk if he sent police to room #122, which the clerk told him he had.
Investigators spoke with Corey Newhook and he provided authorities with a written statement describing his involvement in the incident at the Days Inn. He stated, among other things, that he is sometimes called "C-Money" and knows Sebastian Award and Jonathan Alvarado. Newhook indicated that Alvarado showed up at his home on Monday, April 8, 2013, between the hours of 6:30 AM and 7:00 AM in a light blue sporty four-door type vehicle. They drove together to a Dunkin Donuts where Alvarado purchased six breakfast sandwiches and the two of them then drove to the Days Inn in Old Saybrook. Upon entering a room at the Days Inn, he saw Award sitting in a chair with one or two handguns in his hands along with a white female and a white male. Newhook said he could tell that Award was holding the couple against their will. At one point, Newhook said, he held one of the handguns and a Taser and pointed them at the two individuals. Alvarado and Award told Newhook not to let the couple leave the room. Newhook said he never verbally threatened the two individuals, stating; "All I did was hold the revolver and stun gun to make sure they didn't leave but they never tried to leave." Newhook stated that Alvarado had a silver revolver with a white handle. Award had a black revolver with a brown handle. He described the stun gun as having the words, "one million volts of electricity" printed on it. He said that Award handed him the stun gun in the motel room and Award was going to get some money. Newhook was under the impression the couple owed Award some money. Newhook also remembered hearing Award and the guy (Lempicki) talking about selling Lempicki’s vehicle and giving the money to Award and Alvarado. Newhook said he never checked the handgun that he pointed at the couple but it was heavy so he assumed it was loaded. Newhook said he, Alvarado and Award took turns sleeping and watching the couple throughout the time he was there. Newhook said he eventually called his mother (Althea Unger) to pick him up at the motel and at approximately 2:10 PM, she did pick him up. When he left, Award was still in the room with the couple and he did not know where Alvarado had gone.
During a subsequent interview with investigators, Newhook indicated that on Sunday April 7, 2013, Award had come to his home alone operating Gina Haut's black SUV. At that time, Award had asked Newhook for a shovel and Award had gone into a yard shed and took out some tools.
Gina Haut provided four written statements describing her involvement in this incident. The following information is taken from police reports and Haut’s statements.
Haut stated, on Sunday, April 7, 2013, at approximately 8:16 PM, she was home with her family when she received a telephone call from her friend Sebastian Award. Award asked her for a ride from his home in Ivoryton to a motel and Haut agreed to help him. When she arrived at Award’s home, Award and a friend of his named Jay or John (Alvarado) got into her vehicle and she was asked to drive them toward Old Saybrook to see what motels were in the area. The two had with them a case of Budweiser beer. They stopped at an Old Saybrook MacDonald’s for food. Just before 10:00 PM, the three arrived at the Walmart store on Route 1 in Old Saybrook because Award wanted to purchase a pre-paid cellphone. Alvarado went inside the store while Award and Haut stayed in her vehicle. When Alvarado came out, she said, he only had a cellphone. From Walmart, they drove to a Days Inn and Haut was asked to rent a room for them, which she did and for which she paid cash. The two had told Haut that they needed a break from their girlfriends. While in the room, Award asked her to rent the room for a second night and Alvarado gave her additional cash to pay for it. Haut returned to the front desk and paid for one more night and she eventually left the motel and returned home.
On Monday, April 15, 2013, Detectives met with Haut at her home where she provided another written statement. Investigators believed she was being less than truthful about her knowledge surrounding the facts leading up to the shooting.
In the second statement, Haut stated among other things, that the first statement she provided to the State Police was the truth and there was nothing in that statement meant to mislead the police. Haut was now indicating that when she picked up Award and Alvarado on April 7 in her 2000 Nissan X-Terra, the two men also had placed a brown paper bag in the trunk. Haut further stated that on the way to a McDonalds, she heard Award telling Alvarado that he could not find his gun. Haut stated Award said that he put it somewhere, and Alvarado told him not to worry because he (Alvarado) knew where it was. Haut was aware that Award has had a small gun in the past and described it as dark grey in color with a clip.
Haut further stated that after they left McDonalds, she drove Award and Alvarado to the Walmart in Old Saybrook. Haut stated that Jonathan went into the store and returned about 15 minutes later. Haut stated Alvarado opened the rear hatch of her vehicle and put what he bought into the rear of her vehicle.
Haut went on to state that on the way to the Days Inn from Walmart, Award and Alvarado were talking about inviting a couple to their room to party along with a friend named “C” (later identified as Corey Newhook).
Haut further stated that after she rented the motel room, she drove her vehicle around the rear of the hotel and backed it up to the door of the room. Haut stated that Jonathan got out of her vehicle and removed what he bought from the rear of the vehicle. Haut stated she did not know what he was unloading or what he bought. Haut stated that after the vehicle was unloaded, she went into the room. Haut stated when she went in she saw beer on the bed along with a cell phone in its package and a camping tool (with a spoon, and fork) also still in the package. Haut stated she also saw packaged rolls of plastic that the men said was for painting. Haut stated she did not see any landscaping equipment in the room. Haut stated that while she was activating the cell phone, Award and Alvarado were drinking and smoking crack cocaine. Haut stated she heard them talking about partying with someone named “Lunchbox” and his girlfriend, and that they were staying in a hotel nearby. Haut stated she also heard them talking about how to get “C” (Newhook) to the room. Haut stayed at the room for 20-30 minutes before heading back to Deep River.
Furthermore, Haut stated that on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, while she was at her house looking into the rear of her Nissan X-Terra she found an unopened bottle of bleach. Haut figured it was left in her truck by Alvarado, so she brought the bleach into her house. Investigators obtained another written statement from Haut and searched Haut's vehicle with her consent. This time, Haut stated she also found three small bullets (gold and silver colored) under the front passenger seat on the same day she had found the bleach. Haut stated she took the bullets and threw them away at the Cumberland Farms in Centerbrook. Haut also stated she found a pair of bolt cutters and a pair of hedge clippers, which were still in her vehicle. Investigators processed Haut's vehicle and seized a pair of bolt cutters and the hedge clippers that were believed to have been purchased by Alvarado at Walmart. They also seized one .22-caliber bullet under the front passenger seat. Investigators then escorted Haut to her residence in Ivoryton. There, Haut turned over two bottles of bleach left in her vehicle by Alvarado.
On Tuesday, April 16, 2013, investigators again met with Haut at her home in Ivoryton. This time, Haut had contacted an investigator by telephone and informed him that she also found some clothing in her vehicle left behind by Award or Alvarado that she failed to mention in the previous three sworn written statements. Haut brought investigators back to her home at 38 Village Street in Deep River. There, she pointed out where she had hid the found clothing in the unlocked garage. Haut stated she hid the clothing so her ex-husband would not find it. Haut stated she found the clothing on the same day she found the bullets, the bleach and the tools. Investigators obtained a fourth written statement from Haut in which she stated, among other things, that the morning after she had rented the motel room for Award and Alvarado, Award had called her and asked her to come to the room again. Haut returned to the Days Inn driving her Nissan X-Terra and met with Award outside the door to Room 122. Haut stated Award gave her $100.00 to buy drugs for him in New London. Haut stated she did see the feet of two or three other people inside the room. Haut stated she took the money and drove directly home. There was no indication that she ever purchased drugs for Award.
On April 10, 2013, at approximately 3:55 PM, State Police Detectives Lamoureux and Hoyt met with Sebastian Award who was admitted at Hartford Hospital. Award agreed to speak with them and signed a written Notice and Waiver of Rights form indicating that he understood his rights and freely waived them. The interview was digitally audio recorded. Award stated, among other things, that he and Jonathon Alvarado were trying to scare the victims (referring to Barriere and Lempicki) at the Days Inn; that what happened there had to do with money. He explained that they had what he called “props” that were brought to the room before the victim's got there for “intimidation purposes” and that Alvarado “brought way more than necessary.” Award wouldn't go into details about the “props” but described the guns they had possessed. One gun was a silver, fancy looking revolver that was like a musket in the way it is loaded (with a charge) and a big black revolver that you load bullets into. He stated that when Lempicki left the room, he knew “the shit was going to hit the fan” so he wrapped both guns into a burgundy/multi-colored comforter and they left in Barriere’s vehicle. He stated that Barriere drove, he sat in the front passenger seat and Alvarado sat in the back. As Barriere began to drive way, they were stopped by the police and Barriere was asked to get out of the vehicle. Award stated that the police officer told them to stay where they were, but he did not want to get into trouble so he slid into the driver’s seat and tried to drive away. Award stated that the police officer tried to stop him and sprayed him with pepper spray but he and Alvarado managed to drive away. Award commented to police about how well he was driving during the police pursuit even after being sprayed with pepper spray. He explained that he wore his seat-belt while driving and that he was “pretty sober” while Alvarado was “more rested” than he was. Award described how he saw the black vehicle with flashing lights in front of him (referring to Detective Wisner) and knew the person in that vehicle was a police officer. He explained that when he tried to pass the detective they crashed off the road hitting a tree. Award stated that as they crashed, Alvarado started shooting and after hearing gun shots, Award said that he (Award) realized he was hit. Award said he told Alvarado repeatedly to stop shooting because he (Award) had been shot and he did not want to die, but Alvarado refused to stop. At one point Alvarado said something to the effect, “I just shot a cop! So fuck it! I’m going out!” Award recalled the police also telling Alvarado at the scene not to pick up or touch the gun but Alvarado picked up the gun anyway. Award denied firing his weapon after the crash. He did admit there was a total of three handguns at one point prior to leaving the Days Inn and he only wrapped two of them up in a burgundy/multi-colored comforter. The third gun a (silver colored Sterling .22 caliber pistol) was placed into a plastic box with a lid.
Award said that it was possible that Alvarado wanted the police to shoot him that day because in the past when the two had talked about what would happen if the police ever cornered Alvarado for some reason, Alvarado told Award that he would get into a shootout.
Law Enforcement Witnesses
Old Saybrook Police Sergeant Donald Hull
Sergeant Hull provided a written report describing his involvement in this incident. The following information is taken from his report.
Sergeant Hull was on duty in a marked patrol unit (#4) and he along with Officer Souriyamath were both dispatched to the Days Inn in Old Saybrook for an unknown 911 call. The radio broadcast indicated that “some yelling” could be heard in the background during the call with no further information available.
Officer Ryan Walsh had arrived first at the Days Inn prior to Sergeant Hull and Officer Souriyamath. Upon the Sergeant’s arrival, he was alerted by Officer Walsh by radio to stop a blue vehicle (Mercury) that was coming from the rear of the motel, which he did. Officer Souriyamath continued to the rear of the motel.
Sergeant Hull had indicated that he noticed a white female (later identified as Carolyn Barriere) in the operator’s position along with another white male (later identified as Sebastian Award) in the front passenger seat. At the time, Sergeant Hull did not notice the second male (later identified as Jonathan Alvarado) who was seated in the rear passenger area.
As Sergeant Hull approached the Mercury on foot, the female appeared, “terrified, she was frozen in the driver’s seat and was looking straight forward.” He asked the female for identification but she did not respond and continued looking forward. The driver’s door was locked and the window rolled down a couple of inches. Sergeant Hull asked the operator to turn off the vehicle’s engine and to exit the vehicle. The female operator complied. It was at this point that Sergeant Hull realized there was someone in the back seat. Sergeant Hull asked Award if he had any identification, and he indicated he did not. According to Sergeant Hull, both males appeared nervous.
As Sergeant Hull proceeded to walk behind the Mercury to speak with Barriere, he thought the back seat passenger had jumped into the front operator’s position. Actually, it was Award who moved from the front passenger seat and into the operator’s position. The Sergeant then walked back to the open driver’s door, reached into the interior compartment and turned off the engine. He yelled at Award to get out of the vehicle and Award responded, “fuck no” and Award continued to yell, “no, no, no.” Sergeant Hull made attempts to turn off the vehicle’s ignition key but was met with resistance first by Award and then Alvarado who had now moved into the front passenger seat. At one point, Alvarado yelled, “get the fuck out of here, go, go, go.” In the process, Sergeant Hull’s left elbow had become caught up in the steering wheel which he said caused him a “little discomfort.” Award managed to get the vehicle restarted while Alvarado had his hands on the gear shift. The Sergeant ordered both occupants to stop resisting and eventually used his O/C spray delivering short bursts to the occupants face a few times, but having little or no effect.
Award managed to drive the Mercury out of the motel parking lot and onto Route 1 westbound. Sergeant Hull returned to his marked Old Saybrook Police vehicle, activated his flashing emergency lights and siren and began pursuing the suspects notifying his police dispatcher of the pursuit. Patrolman Souriyamath joined the pursuit directly behind Sergeant Hull. The Mercury’s marker plate bearing CT Combination 8C6598 was called into the dispatcher by Sergeant Hull. For some unknown reason, the Mercury’s trunk opened and closed during the beginning of the pursuit while on Route 1. Officer Walsh broadcast to others that the two suspects had just committed an armed robbery at the motel
As the pursuit continued north on Route 153 into Westbrook, Sergeant Hull observed a State Police vehicle (Trooper Robert Hart) and a Westbrook Police vehicle (Constable Lawrence Merrill) on Route 153, north of Route 166. The suspects drove around the two police vehicles and continued to accelerate and gain distance from Sergeant Hull.
Sergeant Hull could see the Mercury approach another police vehicle (Detective Scott Wisner) on Route 153 with its emergency lights activated. The Mercury attempted to pass the police vehicle on the left-hand side of the road. Sergeant Hull believes the Mercury intentionally turned back to the right and into the police vehicle. He indicated there was plenty of room for the suspect vehicle to pass the police vehicle but the operator made no attempt to do so. Both vehicles subsequently went off the left side of the road, over the guardrails and into a group of trees where they came to rest.
Sergeant Hull stopped his vehicle on the opposite side of the road from where the vehicles came to rest and radioed that a crash had occurred. Upon exiting his vehicle, he heard gunshots. The Sergeant called in “shots fired” over the radio. Sergeant Hull took cover in order to determine who was shooting but could not make that determination as many more State Police personnel arrived. He could not determine how many shots had been fired. He noticed a “State Police officer” being helped out of one of the crashed vehicles through a front passenger door and being escorted to another State Police vehicle.
Sergeant Hull alerted other officers that there were two suspects in the Mercury. He could hear State Police personnel giving commands to the individuals inside the Mercury. The Sergeant heard other police personnel indicate that there was a gun next to one of the suspects and then heard numerous commands telling one suspect not to reach for a gun. Sergeant Hull then heard the sound of a single gunshot that was the last shot he heard.
Sebastian Award was removed from the Mercury, placed on the ground in front of Sergeant Hull’s patrol vehicle and given medical attention. Alvarado was then removed from the Mercury and brought up the embankment to the road and provided medical attention.
State Police Detective Scott Wisner
Detective Wisner provided a written statement describing his involvement in this incident. The following information is taken from this statement.
Detective Wisner stated that he has been a State Trooper for more than 21 years and is currently assigned to the Central District Major Crime Squad at Troop F in Westbrook. On April 8, 2013, at 3:00 PM, his shift had ended and he was operating his assigned unmarked Chevrolet Impala north on Route 153 in the area of Route 166. He overheard Trooper Hart on his mobile police radio state that the Old Saybrook Police were pursuing a vehicle involved in an armed robbery at the Days Inn in that town. It was at this point that Detective Wisner pulled over in the area of Pettipaug Road to wait and see which way the pursuit would proceed. Trooper Hart indicated over the radio that the pursuit was traveling north on Route 153, which is behind where Detective Wisner was traveling.
Detective Wisner removed his duty weapon, a Sig Sauer P220 .45-caliber pistol from the glove box to secure it on his left hip. However, he decided to tuck the holstered weapon between his legs in case he crashed during the upcoming pursuit. Moments later, he observed two marked Old Saybrook Police units with activated emergency lights coming from behind him on Route 153. In front of them was a blue vehicle that he thought was an SUV-type vehicle. He proceeded to travel north on Route 153 in front of the suspect vehicle and began weaving his vehicle side-to-side in an attempt to slow it down before it reached a more populated area. The suspect vehicle was traveling at a very high rate of speed and began passing alongside the detective’s driver’s side when the two vehicles made contact. Both vehicles then moved left (westerly) across the road and broke through the guard rail post/cable rails and came to rest in very close proximity of each other.
Detective Wisner stated that after the impact he had no idea where the suspect vehicle was. He began looking for his duty weapon that became dislodged during the crash. As he bent down toward the driver’s floor area he heard immediate gunfire that was loud, causing a ringing sound in his ears. The detective could not believe that he was being shot at and had no idea where the shots were coming from. He felt pain in his left shoulder and realized he had been shot. He was still seat-belted in his vehicle and thought to himself he did not want to die. When he sat himself upright to return firing he was, “amazed to see that I was looking at the barrel of a gun with a face of a Hispanic male directly behind it. I did not see or hear anything else. The end of the gun was less than a foot from my face.”
Detective Wisner immediately turned his body in his driver’s seat and returned fire in the direction of the male pointing the gun at his face. He did not recall the number of shots he fired but was aware that he only had one magazine available to him. He recalls hearing some unknown person screaming in pain but could not determine from whom or where the voices were coming. The Detective had no idea how many people where inside the suspect vehicle. He was aware that his vehicle was lying up against the suspect vehicle and was thinking that he was trapped inside his vehicle and unable to climb out because he was afraid of being shot in the back.
Detective Wisner then saw State Police Sergeant Robert Derry standing at his passenger window and recalled his vehicle motor was still running. Detective Wisner recalled someone asking him for his duty weapon, which he turned over to that person, and that he was then pulled from his vehicle by Sergeants Robert Derry and Patrick Torneo and driven to the Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Clinic for medical treatment.
State Police Sergeant Keith Graham
Sergeant Graham provided a written statement describing his involvement in this incident. The following information is taken from this statement.
Sergeant Graham stated that he has been a State Trooper for 13 1/2 years and is currently assigned to Troop F in Westbrook as a duty supervisor. On April 8, 2013, approximately 2:40 PM, he was inside the Troop F barracks on Spencer Plains Road in full uniform and scheduled to work the evening shift. He was speaking with Sergeant Robert Derry when he overheard Trooper Robert Hart on the building’s police radio speaker indicate that the Old Saybrook Police were involved in a motor vehicle pursuit of robbery suspects behind the Troop F barracks.
Sergeant Graham ran out to his police vehicle and headed out the driveway toward Route 153 while activating his audio and video dash camera recorder. Sergeant Graham overheard the pursuit was traveling north on Route 153 at which time he activated his emergency lights and siren and began heading toward the intersection of Route 153 on Route 166.
As Sergeant Graham reached the intersection, he observed two State Police vehicles northbound on Route 153 and began following them. The Sergeant stated that he did not observe any Old Saybrook Police vehicles or what vehicle was being pursued. Approximately ten seconds had gone by when he came upon more than one Old Saybrook Police vehicle stopped on the right side of Route 153 with officers outside their vehicles. Sergeant Graham recalled seeing two vehicles crashed down an embankment on the left side of Route 153. Upon exiting his vehicle, he turned off his siren and believed he heard about six gunshots coming from a direction north of him. Sergeant Graham believes he called over the police radio a “Code-A, shot fired.” As the Sergeant proceeded in the direction of the crashed vehicle, someone said, “It’s one of yours,” referring to a State Trooper. As he continued on foot toward the crashed vehicles, he heard possibly two more gun shots. (It should be noted that the term “Code-A” refers to an officer needs assistance and for others to refrain from communicating on the police frequency unless directly involved in the incident.)
As Sergeant Graham proceeded down the embankment, he believes Westbrook Constable Larry Merrill was with him. The crashed vehicles were in a swampy area and almost on top of each other. The two vehicles were positioned in the shape of a “V” and the Sergeant thought one was a minivan laying on its side. Actually, the vehicle was the stolen 2010 Mercury Milan with the sunroof open or smashed out. Sergeant Graham was attempting to assess the occupants’ injuries. The driver (Sebastian Award) was in the operator’s position. He was still seat-belted in but hanging upside down and blood appeared to be dripping from his body. There was a second male (Jonathan Alvarado) who was not seat-belted and sitting in the lowest part of the right front passenger compartment area. Sergeant Graham had his duty issued Sig Sauer P-220 firearm in his hand due to the prior gunshots he heard. Sergeant Graham yelled at both men to display their hands more than once. Award complied and no weapons were observed in his possession. The Sergeant could see that Alvarado’s hands were empty, too. He then looked at the other vehicle and realized it was Detective Scott Wisner. The detective told him that he had been shot.
At this time, several troopers were standing on top of both vehicles and medical personnel had been summoned to the scene. Sergeant Graham alerted the others present that Detective Wisner was involved. He believes Detective Wisner handed him his duty weapon when Sergeant Graham asked him for it. He recalled Detective Wisner’s firearm slide was not locked back, which would indicate that the weapon was still loaded. Other troopers were removing Detective Wisner from his vehicle at the same time Sergeant Graham refocused his attention on the two suspects who were still inside the Mercury. At this time, Sergeant Graham recalled seeing, “a big, huge, long black gun” located in the bottom section of the vehicle’s passenger’s side compartment near the male passenger (Alvarado) who was not seat-belted in. Sergeant Graham still had his duty weapon in his hand and pointed at Alvarado who was about five feet from him and the sergeant told him in a loud clear voice to not touch the gun or pick it up.
At the same time, the vehicle’s operator was screaming something to the effect, “I’m dying get me out.” Sergeant Graham said he repeated himself several times for Alvarado not to touch the gun and keep his hands where they could be seen. Sergeant Graham asked the passenger what his name was and he told him “Johnny” (Jonathan Alvarado). He believes the operator said his name was “Sammy.” Sergeant Graham attempted to calm the situation by talking with both men. Sergeant Graham overheard Alvarado say to Award something to the effect, “I’m done buddy, and I’m done.” Award was telling Alvarado not to do it, meaning pick up the gun. Alvarado asked Sergeant Graham, “What are you going to do if I pick up that gun right now?” The sergeant indicated that he would not do anything to Alvarado. The sergeant said he was pretending to Alvarado that he didn’t want Alvarado to think that the sergeant believed the gun was real so Alvarado would not pick up the gun. Sergeant Graham indicated that he actually did believe the gun was real because he could see the gold colored bullets inside the cylinder.
At this point, Sergeant Graham said Award was telling Alvarado, “Don’t do it!” Sergeant Graham also told Alvarado not to pick up the gun. Alvarado responded by saying something to the effect of, “Just ask your buddy (referring to Detective Wisner) if this gun is real.” Sergeant Graham and Award both told Alvarado again to not pick up the gun. Alvarado began to slowly touch the gun with the tip of his fingers and gripped the butt of the revolver and placed it into his right hand near his legs. Several troopers, including Sergeant Graham, ordered Alvarado to drop the gun as Alvarado began raising the weapon. Sergeant Graham took aim with his duty weapon and pointed it at Alvarado’s chest and fired one shot and then stepped to his left to take cover. As the Sergeant reassessed the situation he could see Alvarado was now leaning more toward the sergeant’s position and not saying anything. Sergeant Graham indicated that he could now see a “wound though (sic) his shirt on the left side of his chest.” Sergeant Graham continued to try to engage Alvarado in conversation, telling other officers to hold their fire. The sergeant indicated that he could no longer see a gun in Alvarado’s hand and the gun was out of his sight. At this point, Sergeant Graham told Alvarado to raise his hands up in the air which Alvarado did and allowed Sergeant Graham to handcuff his hands. At this point, other troopers were able to remove Award from the vehicle and then Alvarado was removed. Both were treated for their injuries and taken away by ambulance.
State Police Trooper Robert Hart
Trooper Hart provided a written report describing his involvement in this incident. The following information is taken from his report.
At approximately 2:50 PM, Trooper Hart and Officer Lawrence Merrill were at the Westbrook High School when Hart heard a broadcast over his police radio that the Old Saybrook Police were in pursuit on Route 166 of a vehicle involved in an armed robbery. Trooper Hart notified his dispatcher by radio of the incident. Both Trooper Hart and Officer Merrill having activated their emergency lights and sirens headed toward the intersection of Route 153 and McVeagh Road in Westbrook.
As they approached, Trooper Hart could see a light blue vehicle coming toward him from the opposite direction northbound on Route 153 at a high rate of speed. He and Officer Merrill attempted to position their vehicles to force the vehicle off the road, but the suspect vehicle drove around them. Trooper Hart could see there were two males inside the vehicle’s front seat. Three Old Saybrook Police vehicles, with emergency lights and sirens, passed by in pursuit of the blue vehicle. Trooper Hart and Officer Merrill turned their vehicles around in order to catch up to the pursuing officers and in doing so noticed two vehicles off the left shoulder of the road down an embankment. One of the vehicles had rear flashing emergency lights, which Hart thought to be an unmarked State Police vehicle. Trooper Hart stopped his vehicle about fifty feet north of the crash site in a private driveway.
As Trooper Hart approached the vehicles on foot, he heard a series of gunshots. His visibility was limited due to the vehicles position and trees in the area. Trooper Hart could not determine who was shooting so he returned to his vehicle for cover. He realized that Detective Wisner was involved in the situation and believed him to have been shot. Sergeant Keith Graham was initiating a dialogue with one of the suspects in the suspects’ vehicle. Detective Wisner was removed from his vehicle by Sergeant Patrick Torneo and Trooper Hart could see blood on the Detective’s shoulder area.
According to Trooper Hart, based on Sergeant Graham’s verbal commands he could tell that both suspects appeared to be wounded in their vehicle. Trooper Hart heard Sergeant Graham say to the suspect(s) three or four times, “I am not going to shoot you.” He then heard Sergeant Graham say, “don’t do it, keep your hands away from the gun. I’m not going to shoot you, don’t do it, drop the gun.” After several repeats of these commands, Trooper Hart heard one gun shot and asked aloud who shot and if anyone was hurt. Sergeant Graham responded that he was not shot and he fired the single shot. At this point, leaves beneath Detective Wisner’s vehicle caught fire and a fire extinguisher was used to put out the fire. State Police Lieutenant Mark Cassista reached into the detective’s vehicle and turned off the ignition. The suspects were removed from their vehicle and provided medical treatment.
Body Survey of Jonathan Alvarado
On April 8, 2013, State Police Detective Priscilla Vining, documented, photographed and conducted a body survey of Jonathan Alvarado after he was pronounced deceased at the Shoreline Clinic. Among other things, the Detective noted numerous apparent gunshot wounds to Alvarado’s right ankle, right foot, right pinkie/ring fingers and center of chest. Numerous tattoos were noted on various parts of Alvarado’s body, including the words, “Fuck the Police 187” on his lower left leg.
On April 10, 2013, an autopsy was performed on the body of Jonathan Alvarado, (d.o.b. 8/26/88, of 146 Warsaw Street Deep River) by Dr. Ira J. Kanfer, Associate Medical Examiner, at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Dr. Kanfer, after completion of the autopsy, wrote a report detailing the autopsy and his findings.
Dr. Kanfer noted in his autopsy report that he found gunshot wounds A and B, which were entry and exit wounds of the soft tissue of the medial aspect of the right ankle.
Gunshot wound C was a gunshot wound of the fifth and fourth fingers to the right hand with marked disruption of the fingers with no bullet or fragments recovered from the wound. (Note: It could not be determined with scientific or with absolute certainty whether this injury was caused by the gunshot fired from Detective Wisner or Sergeant Graham’s duty weapon).
Gunshot wound D was an entry type gunshot wound of the anterior left chest, located 12 inches downward from the top of the head and 2 inches to the left of the midline. It is a 1 cm hole surrounded by a 1 mm margin of abrasion. Associated with gunshot wound D was a recovered bullet in the lateral wall of the right abdomen (Note: later marked as CSP Item #204, Forensic Lab submission #24). The bullet path was from left to right, downward, and front to back. The bullet passed through the heart, right lung and liver. It was a large caliber copper jacketed bullet. Associated with the gunshot wounds was approximately 2 liters of blood in the right pleural cavity.
In addition, there were two somewhat circular defects adjacent to gunshot wound D, which were not associated with the gunshot wound and appear to be secondary missiles. No fragments were recovered from the defects.
Dr. Kanfer concluded that the cause of death was gunshot wound of chest and abdomen. The manner of death was homicide.
On October 8, 2013, a toxicology report (Lab# L13-0514) was generated by the OCME office. The report indicated among other things that the body of Jonathan Alvarado revealed the presence of cocaine.
Identification of Jonathan Alvarado
On April 10, 2013, during the autopsy of Jonathan Alvarado, post mortem inked fingerprints were taken by a member of the State Police Major Crime Squad. Those inked prints were compared to those of a previous arrest of Jonathan Alvarado, d.o.b. 8/26/88. That arrest had occurred on August 14, 2012.
On April 10, 2013, a report was generated by a member of the Fingerprint Identification Unit for the DESPP. The report reflects that a positive identification was made between the aforementioned two comparisons to be in fact Jonathan Alvarado, d.o.b. 8/26/88.
Police Officer Body, Firearm and Vehicle Surveys
During the course of this investigation, body survey reports, duty weapon reports and vehicle survey report and photographs were completed for a total of seventeen (17) police officers involved in this incident from the Towns of Old Saybrook and Westbrook and the Connecticut State Police. The reports reflect among other things what each officer was wearing, the type of firearm and ammunition each carried, the number of rounds they carried or fired, if any, and any injuries sustained during this encounter on April 8, 2013. Based on these reports, no other law enforcement officer other than Sergeant Graham and Detective Wisner fired their weapons during this incident.
Vehicle Survey Report: The survey report for Detective Wisner’s vehicle reflects the vehicle sustained heavy damage to its left end and front sides. The left side window was shattered. There was a blood-like substance smeared and streaked across the windshield, operator and passenger areas had footprints and handprints in blood-like substance. In addition, the report reflects “Defects (from apparent gun shots)” located in the driver’s headrest (front/back), rear passenger side door frame and interior, rear passenger side door (interior/exterior) interior roof, front passenger area and the interior post near the roof, front passenger area. A total of five spent shell casings were found inside the detective’s vehicle all consistent with being the same Federal type ammunition carried by State Police.
Photographs were taken of Detective Wisner’s clothing that he wore on April 8, 2013. The photographs depict a yellow button down shirt having two similar large circular pattern areas of blood-like substance. One was located on the upper triceps muscle region of the left arm and the other was located on the backside, left shoulder area. There was a white T-shirt which has the same type or similar red staining pattern on the left arm and left shoulder area which matches the staining on the yellow shirt.
Body Survey Report: On April 17, 2013, Detective Wisner’s body survey was conducted and photographs were taken of his injuries. These photographs depict two small circular injuries that appear to be scabbing over and healing, consistent with being a bullet entry and exit-type wound located on Detective Wisner’s left arm above his triceps muscle and back side of his left shoulder region, which is consistent with the blood-like staining pattern found on his button down shirt and t-shirt seized by police. The photographs also depict a healing type injury that appears to be at the top portion of his left ear. This injury may have been caused by a bullet fired from Jonathan Alvarado during the deadly force encounter.
Police Dash Camera Video
Old Saybrook Police Officer Ryan Walsh - Dash Camera :
Officer Walsh’s dash camera video/audio is dated April 09, 2013, but had no time clock display. The video records for approximately 30 minutes. Among other things, the video shows Officer Walsh arriving at the Days Inn and parking his patrol vehicle in the front parking lot. The officer exits his patrol vehicle and walks toward the front of the motel and out of camera view while his vehicle remained stationary. Barriere’s blue colored Mercury is seen driving from the rear of the motel directly into the direction of Officer Walsh’s patrol vehicle and comes to a complete stop. At the same time, Old Saybrook Police Officer Thanousinh Souriyamath is seen passing by the Mercury’s driver’s side in his marked patrol vehicle with activated emergency flashing roof lights.
At this point, three people can be seen seated inside the vehicle. The passenger side windows are rolled up and the sunroof is slightly tilted upward in the open position. Old Saybrook Police Sergeant Donald Hull is seen walking up to the driver’s window from the front of the Mercury. He appears to have a brief conversation with the operator, Carolyn Barriere. She is seen exiting the driver’s position smoking a cigarette as she walks to the rear of the vehicle with Sergeant Hull. The driver’s door is left open.
Moments later, the right front male passenger (Sebastian Award) can be seen sliding over the center console and into the driver’s position. Sergeant Hull walks back to the driver’s side door jam and reaches into the vehicle. The vehicle begins to rock back and forth. The right rear male passenger (Jonathan Alvarado) is seen lunging over the front seat in the direction of Sergeant Hull at the same time the Sergeant has his left arm inside the operator’s position. According to Sergeant Hull’s report, he was attempting to turn off the vehicle’s ignition. It appears that both Alvarado and Award are slapping or hitting Sergeant Hull’s arm with their hands.
Alvarado is seen as he exits the right rear passenger door. He is wearing a dark colored sweatshirt and dark pants. It appears there is something heavy in his right front sweatshirt pocket. Alvarado then enters the right front passenger door of the Mercury and closes it. The Sergeant and Award continue to struggle briefly. Sergeant Hull said that he sustained, “a little discomfort” to his elbow during the struggle.
Sergeant Hull then stands upright, back steps and later explained in his report that he ordered both males to stop resisting but they continued to fight him while still inside their vehicle. Both occupants were non-compliant and as a result, the sergeant used less than lethal force by utilizing his O/C spray on both occupants. Award is then then driving off with Alvarado as a front seat passenger. Barriere is left behind in the parking lot. Sergeant Hull returned to his marked patrol SUV and led the pursuit from Old Saybrook into Westbrook until Award later collided into Detective Wisner’s vehicle.
Old Saybrook Police Officer Thanousinh Souriyamath - Dash Camera :
Officer Souriyamath dash camera video/audio is dated April 09, 2013, with no time clock display. The video records for approximately 52 minutes.
Among other things, the video shows Officer Souriyamath arrive at the Days Inn Motel following Sergeant Donald Hull’s marked SUV patrol vehicle. Officer Souriyamath’s vehicle is observed passing the suspect’s blue colored Mercury that at the time it was being operated by the victim, Carolyn Barriere. The right front passenger was Sebastian Award and the rear seat occupant was Jonathan Alvarado.
Officers Souriyamath and Walsh can be seen meeting with the Days Inn manager at the rear of the motel and begin knocking on two room doors but no one answers.
Sergeant Hull can then be heard broadcasting over the police radio, “they’re running.” Both officers begin to quickly move and Officer Souriyamath re-enters his patrol vehicle and leaves the Days Inn lot and follows behind Sergeant Hull’s marked SUV vehicle that is displaying emergency lights.
Sergeant Hull can be seen leaving the Days in parking lot, taking a left turn onto Route 1 as he activates his flashing emergency lights and siren. He gets directly behind the suspects’ vehicle that turns right onto Route 166. The suspect Mercury trunk pops open for an unknown reason and closes by itself during the pursuit. Officer Ryan Walsh can be heard broadcasting over the police radio, “The female here is reporting an armed robbery.” Sergeant Hull is then heard describing the occupants as, “One White male, one Hispanic male.”
The suspect vehicle is seen traveling well over the posted speed limits of 35 mph and 40 mph on Route 153 in Westbrook. At one point on Route 153 Westbrook Police Constable Lawrence Merrill and State Police Trooper Robert Hart make an attempt to block the suspect vehicle’s path, which causes the suspect vehicle to come to a near stop. However, the suspect vehicle proceeds to maneuver around the two oncoming police vehicles and continues to flee from pursuing officers. The suspects rapidly increase their speed and fail to obey the signals of the officers. Throughout the pursuit, the suspect vehicle passes vehicles traveling in the same direction in a no passing zone and crosses the center double yellow line at high rates of speed. While on Route 153, the suspect vehicle is seen as it comes up behind Detective Wisner’s unmarked grey Chevrolet Impala displaying its rear deck emergency lights that are activated and visible.
The suspect vehicle attempted to pass Detective Wisner's vehicle in a no passing zone that was clearly marked by double yellow lines. In doing so, the suspect's right front-end made contact with Detective Wisner's vehicle's left rear-end. Subsequently, both vehicles traveled west off the road breaking through the wire guard rail and down an embankment where they came to rest in very close proximity of each other. The suspect vehicle left the road first followed by Detective Wisner's vehicle. Both Old Saybrook pursuing vehicles came to a full stop along the right shoulder of Route 153 directly opposite where the suspect’s vehicle and Detective Wisner’s vehicle came to rest.
As Sergeant Hull exits his vehicle, muffled sounds can be heard from what appear to be two gunshots. These two shots are believed to have been fired from Alvarado’s hand gun. Both Officers Souriyamath and Sergeant Hull can be seen immediately drawing their weapons from their holsters in the ready position and pointing them in the direction of where the two vehicles came to rest. At the same time, Sergeant Hull reports “shots fired” over his police radio as does Sergeant Jeffrey DePerry. Officer Souriyamath’s vehicle positioning made it difficult to observe on video what was transpiring inside and around the area of the two crashed vehicles. At least five more muffled sounds what appear to be rapid-fire gunshots can be heard which are believed to have been fired by Detective Wisner’s gun. A male voice can be heard over the Old Saybrook Police radio saying, “Shots fired everybody.”
A few moments later, Detective Wisner can be seen running from the area of the accident scene as he is escorted to a marked State Police vehicle where he enters the back seat and is driven away.
Officer Souriyamath later turns his dash camera position to face toward the crashed vehicles that are located down the embankment on the opposite side of the road. Several officers can be seen around the two vehicles.
Award is seen being pulled by State Police Sergeant Claudia Tomassetti and Old Saybrook Police Sergeant Jay Rankin from the area of the crash scene and across the opposite side of the road. Award did not have a shirt on at this point which may have been removed during his extrication. He did have what appeared to be blood-like substance on his upper back area.
It then appears that Alvarado is pulled from the Mercury and carried up the embankment, under the guardrail and laid on the road. Due to the Old Saybrook Police spotlight the camera angle is partially blocked. Old Saybrook Police Officer Shannon Miller brings first aid equipment to Sergeant Jay Rankin and medical attention is administered to Alvarado. A firefighter then begins to provide first aid to Alvarado. Minutes later, Alvarado is wheeled away on a gurney by rescuers and cardio pulmonary resuscitation is being preform by firefighters and medical personnel.
State Police Sergeant Keith Graham -Dash Camera :
Sergeant Graham’s 55-minute dash camera video and audio revealed the following information among other things: It shows Sergeant Graham arriving on scene moments after the collision between Detective Wisner and the suspects’ vehicle. Upon Sergeant Graham’s arrival, he could be heard saying over his police radio that there had been a motor vehicle accident. At the same time, the sound of at least four apparent gunshots can be heard in background. The sergeant then broadcasts, “ Code-A, Code-A, Code-A, hold the radio, shots fired.” Several officers are seen on the video taking cover, some of whom can be seen drawing their weapons.
For approximately the next two minutes, Sergeant Graham can be heard on the audio portion of the dash camera recording asking, “Who shot?” Sergeant Graham and other officers can also be heard repeatedly saying, “Hold your fire.” Sergeant Graham then appears to engage Award and Alvarado in conversation while they are still inside the blue Mercury. While this is occurring, the sergeant cannot be seen on this video due to the position of his vehicle and video dash camera’s position and other police vehicles blocking the line of sight. By all accounts, both Award and Alvarado have already been shot at this point by Detective Wisner during the initial exchange on gun fire just moments after the two vehicles had come to rest down the embankment.
Sergeant Graham can be heard asking someone (believed to be Detective Wisner) if they have been shot. Sergeant Graham is also heard ordering the suspect(s) not to move or he will shoot. Other v voices can be heard in the background but their words are inaudible. More likely than not, it is either Award, Alvarado or both who are responding to Sergeant Graham’s commands. While Sergeant Graham is talking to the suspects who are still trapped in their vehicle, Detective Wisner can be seen on video as he is being quickly escorted away from the left side of the screen in a standing position and gets into another state police marked vehicle that drives off.
Sergeant Graham asks, “Hey, whose got a gun?” A male voice can be heard saying , “I don’t gotta a gun.” Sergeant Graham then says, “There it is right there.” Another male voice, (presumably Award) can be heard a few times saying, “Get me out of here .” Sergeant Graham then says, “Hey, you grab that gun you will die.” Throughout the incident, it is believe to be Award’s voice that can be heard repeatedly saying, “Get me out of here.”
At one point, Sergeant Graham states, “ Hold on, there’s a gun in the car, I can see it. There’s blood all over it, give me some gloves.” The sergeant repeatedly tells Alvarado not to touch the gun that is near Alvarado’s foot and engages him in conversation. Sergeant Graham then states, “Dude, fucking put that fucking gun down dude (presumably to Alvarado) . Dude, do not fucking pick it up...” Sergeant Graham states, “Hey, put your hand up away from that fucking” (A quick static inaudible sound heard-presumably a single gunshot). Another male voice can be heard saying, “Who shot? Who shot?” At this same time several officers can be seen on the video who are standing on the road surface. All flinch their bodies at the same time and start to step backward, some drawing their duty weapons and coming to the low ready firing position.
Sergeant Graham then responds , “I did, I did…” An unknown male voice yells, “Where’s the gun?” Sergeant Graham says, “Hey, in his right hand.”
Sergeant Graham continued to engage Award and Alvarado in conversation. Award tells the sergeant his name is “Sammy” and the passenger who the sergeant shot is “Johnny.” Award tells the sergeant that he is shot in the back. Sergeant Graham and the other officers are heard discussing how they are trying to get the suspect out of the vehicle, however, the body positions inside the Mercury made it difficult for that to occur.
Officers are then seen pulling Award, who is handcuffed completely, across to the opposite side of the road and out of sight due to an unmarked State Police vehicle blocking the view of the dash camera. Minutes later, officers can be seen laying Alvarado down on the road where the first firefighter responders are allowed to administer first aid. Alvarado is then seen being placed onto a gurney and into an ambulance for transport to the Shoreline Clinic. Based on a Connecticut State Police body survey report prepared by Detective Priscilla Vining, Jonathan Alvarado was pronounced deceased by Dr. Lynders at 3:20 PM.
Forensic Laboratory Biology Testing
The DESPP Division of Scientific Services was asked to examine certain evidence seized in connection with this investigation and perform appropriate tests. The following is a summary pertaining to certain evidence for the biological testing and test findings:
The Forensic laboratory examined submission # 20 (CSP-Item #191) and submission # 21 (CSP-Item #92), which were both deformed projectiles seized from the interior of Detective Wisner’s vehicle ceiling area. There was no blood-like substance observed on either of these items. Submission #20 (CSP-Item # 191) did contain a trace material. Both submissions were swabbed and sent to the DNA section of the lab for further analysis.
Forensic Laboratory Criminalistics Trace Testing
The Division of Scientific Services was asked to examine certain evidence seized in connection with this investigation and perform appropriate tests. The following is a summary pertaining to certain evidence for the trace testing and test findings:
Jonathan Alvarado was eliminated as source of the DNA on both deformed projectile submission #20-S1 (CSP-Item #191) and submission #21-S1 (CSP-Item #192). This was done by comparing the DNA profile developed by the Forensic lab from submission #20-S1 (CSP-Item # 191) & submission #21-S1 (CSP-Item #192) to a known buccal sample from Alvarado, which was submission #1-S1, which was obtained at the time of his autopsy.
The laboratory was also able to determine the following results in regard to the broken parts from submission #5 (CSP-Item #56 & Item #155) the damaged single action "Ruger” revolver, Colt .45-caliber, model Blackhawk, serial # 4786216. The results demonstrate that item submission #5-1S1 (swabbing of revolver-trigger), submission #5-1S2 (swabbing of revolver-hammer spur), submission #5-2S1 (swabbing of cylinder and live rounds) and from submission #13S1 (swabbing of revolver handle) are mixtures. Alvarado (submission #1-S1) is included as a contributor to the DNA profiles from the above mentioned submissions (#5-1S1, #5-1S2, #5-2S1, and #13S1).
The expected frequency of individuals who could be a contributor to the DNA profile from these mentioned items is less than 1 in 7 billon in the African American, Caucasian and Hispanic populations.
The Connecticut State Police has a written directive concerning the use of deadly force. It states that an officer is justified in using deadly physical force only when the officer reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend the officer or a third person from the use of, or imminent use of, deadly physical force. The directive also states that where feasible the officer should give verbal warning of intent to use deadly physical force.
Section 53a-22(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes permits a police officer to use deadly physical force upon another person when the officer reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself/herself 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/herself 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:
On Sunday, April 7, 2013, at approximately 8:16 PM, Gina Haut received a telephone call at home from Sebastian Award. He asked her for a ride from his home in Ivoryton to a hotel. Haut picked up Award and another friend of Award’s named Jonathan Alvarado. Alvarado placed some beer and other items into the rear hatch compartment area of Haut’s SUV type vehicle. There was a discussion inside the vehicle between Award and Alvarado about a gun that had been misplaced but. Alvarado said he knew where it was. From there, Haut took the two men to a Walmart on Route 1 in Old Saybrook in order to purchase a pre-paid cellphone. Alvarado went inside the store while Haut and Award remained in her vehicle. When Alvarado returned to her vehicle, Alvarado placed the items he purchased into the rear hatch compartment area. Based upon a video obtained by the police from an Old Saybrook Walmart store located on Route 1, it reflects Alvarado in Walmart on April 7, 2013. In addition, a computer generated sales receipt dated April 7, 2013, at 9:09:27, reflected Alvarado purchased certain items including: a camping ax, utensils, three bottles of bleach, rolls of plastic and a cellular telephone.
From Walmart, Haut then drove to the Days Inn Motel in Old Saybrook whereupon Haut rented room #122 in her name for the two men. Award and Alvarado had discussed inviting a couple believed to be Carolyn Barrier and Christopher Lempicki to the room to socialize, along with another friend named Corey Newhook. At the motel, Alvarado unloaded what he had put into the rear of Haut’s vehicle and placed some of those items into room #122. Inside room #122, Haut said she observed a cellular telephone, a camping tool, and rolls of plastic still in their original packaging. Both men were consuming alcohol and smoking crack cocaine. At some point in the night, Haut left the room, drove back home, only to return to the motel room later in the night at the request of Award in order to retrieve some money from Award in order to purchase more drugs for him. At that time, Haut said she noticed there were other people besides Award and Alvarado in the room but she could not see their faces because she stood outside when she met Award to get $100. Haut said she drove back home and did not purchase any drugs at that time. At some point in time after she arrived home, Haut found some items that were inside her vehicle that belonged to either Award or Alvarado including bolt cutters, hedge clippers, two bottles of bleach, live bullets and clothing.
On Sunday, April 7, 2013, between 10:30 PM and 11:00 PM, Award had gone to Newhook’s home in Haut's black SUV. Award asked Newhook to come with him to the Days Inn for a couple of drinks and to smoke marijuana. Newhook did not go with him. Award had asked Newhook for a shovel. Award had gone into a yard shed and took out some other tools but did not specify what kind.
On Monday, April 8, 2013, at approximately 3:30 AM, Carolyn Barriere and Christopher Lempicki were at their motel room at the Heritage Motor Inn at 1500 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook. Both admitted to consuming alcohol when Lempicki received a text from Alvarado who asked to get together. A short time later Alvarado and Award arrived at the couple’s motel room. After a short period of time in the couple’s room, Alvarado and Award invited Barriere and Lempicki to join them at their motel room (#122) at the Days Inn. The four walked a short distance to the Days Inn. Barriere and Lempicki left their vehicles at the Heritage Motel. Once inside room #122, they all began to consume alcohol and engage in conversation. According to Barriere and Lempicki, at some point shortly after their arrival at room #122, Award pulled out a revolver type handgun that had a long gold barrel and white grips. Award repeatedly cocked and de-cocked the gun's hammer. About the same time, Alvarado also pulled out a black revolver having a long barrel.
Award had told Lempicki that they needed to get money out of Lempicki’s bank account in the morning. Alvarado said they had to leave the country and go to Mexico for fear of facing prison time. When Lempicki stood up and said that he and Barriere were leaving, Alvarado and Award each pointed their guns at the couple and told them they were not leaving. Award attempted to use a Taser on Lempicki but it had little effect on him. The two were told to sit on the bed and feared for their lives and were being held against their will. Award and Alvarado further terrorized the couple by showing them a pile of black plastic trash bags, duct tape and a hatchet. Alvarado made comments to the couple that their cooperation would determine whether Alvarado would use the items on them. The couple further feared for their lives. Alvarado then requested the couple to turn over their keys, wallets and cell phones, which they did.
Between 6:30 AM and 7:00 AM, Corey Newhook was home when Alvarado showed up alone, operating Barriere’s blue Mercury Milan that he had taken without Barriere’s permission from the Heritage Motel. Newhook went with Alvarado to a local restaurant and purchased some take-out breakfast food. From there, they drove to the Days Inn in Old Saybrook. Upon entering room #122, Award was sitting in a chair with one or two handguns in his hands. He was holding Barriere and Lempicki against their will. At the time, Alvarado possessed a silver revolver with a white handle and Award possessed a black revolver with a brown handle. Newhook ate his food and smoked one marijuana blunt as soon as he got into the room. After that, Newhook fell asleep for a while.
At some point in time in the early morning hours, Award was watching Lempicki use his cell phone to access his bank account. Award and Alvarado were disappointed when they saw that there was only about fifteen thousand dollars in funds available in Lempicki’s account. Lempicki was told by the suspects that he would have to sell his Mazda back to the dealer and give Alvarado and Award the proceeds. Newhook was present during this conversation. Alvarado handed Newhook the Taser and Award handed him his revolver. Newhook, Alvarado and Award took turns sleeping while the other watched the couple. At approximately noontime, Newhook had called his mother for a ride home. Barriere at some point fell asleep and when she awoke it was about 1:00 PM. At approximately 2:10 PM, Althea Unger came to the Days Inn and gave Newhook a ride home. At that time, Award was getting anxious and was alone in the room with the couple when Newhook left and Alvarado was no longer present. At some point in time, Alvarado had now returned to room #122. Still present in the room were Award, Lempicki and Barriere. The plan was for some of them to leave the motel and go to the auto dealership to sell Lempicki’s Mazda for cash. Eventually, Award and Lempicki left room #122 briefly, at which time Lempicki ran away and next door and into room #121. A call was placed to the front desk manager and a request was made to summon the police.
At approximately 2:42 PM, Bhima Odera, the manager of the Days Inn, placed a 911 call to the Old Saybrook Police Department requesting assistance for a disturbance in rooms 121 or 122. At about the same time, Alvarado insisted the three remaining in room 122 now leave the motel right away. Award and Alvarado gathered some beer, their guns and a Taser and put them into a box and they all proceeded to walk out to Barriere’ s Mercury, which was parked outside the room. Barriere got into the driver's seat, Award was in the front passenger’s seat and Alvarado was in the back seat. Both males were telling Barriere to hurry out of the Days Inn. However, before she could get out of the parking lot, members of the Old Saybrook Police Department had arrived. Sergeant Hull was the only officer to approach the vehicle. He asked Barriere for her license and that she step out of the vehicle because she appeared scared. Sergeant Hull observed Award climb into the operator’s position and attempt to start the vehicle’s engine. A brief struggle took place between Sergeant Hull and the two occupants as the sergeant was reaching into the operator’s position from outside the vehicle. Alvarado now exited the right rear passenger door wearing a sweatshirt type garment and appeared to have something heavy, presumably a handgun, weighing down his right pocket based on a police dash camera video from Officer Walsh’s patrol vehicle. Sergeant Hull utilized less than lethal force on the two suspects by using his department issued O/C pepper spray on them, which had little or no effect. With Award driving, the two suspects sped out of the Days Inn parking lot onto Route 1. At the time, Sergeant Hull and the other Old Saybrook Police Officers were not aware what had transpired before their arrival involving the two suspects.
Old Saybrook Police Sergeant Donald Hull and Officer Thanousinh Souriyamath began pursuing the two men in Barriere’s stolen Mercury Milan but were unaware at the time that the vehicle was take0n from her by force. Sergeant Hull led the pursuit. Moments after the pursuit began, Officer Ryan Walsh notified other officers by radio that an armed robbery had just occurred at the Days Inn involving the fleeing suspects as they proceeded to travel into Westbrook. As the pursuit continued, the Old Saybrook Police broadcast the pursuit location and Connecticut State Police Trooper Robert Hart overheard the broadcast and alerted other State Troopers of the event. On Route 153, the pursuit reached speeds in excess of 80 mph in a posted 35 mph residential zone endangering the lives of those officers involved in the pursuit and the general public traveling on the road.
As Award approached the rear of Detective Scott Wisner’s unmarked police vehicle displaying flashing lights and siren on Route 153, Award began to maneuver his vehicle in such a manner that it collided with Detective Wisner’s vehicle. As a direct result of that collision, the two vehicles traveled off the opposite side of the road, over the wire guard rails and down an embankment, striking some trees and coming to rest. The Mercury landed on its passenger side with the driver’s side facing up in the air. Detective Wisner’s vehicle was upright and both vehicles came to rest in very close proximity to one another. The glass sunroof of the suspects’ Mercury was shattered at some point, possibly during the collision.
Within seconds of the vehicles coming to rest, Alvarado fired his revolver four times at very close range to Detective Wisner who was still seated-belted in the operator’s position of his vehicle. It appears more likely than not that two bullets struck Detective Wisner, once in his left shoulder region and once at the tip of his left ear. Detective Wisner immediately returned fire using his department issued .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, model P220, in fear of his life. He fired seven (7) rounds in the direction from which he believed he was being fired upon. In doing so, Detective Wisner struck both Award and Alvarado at least one time each. Alvarado sustained a gunshot wound to his upper chest region that lodged in his right abdomen, wounds to his right ankle and another wound to his fourth and fifth fingers of his right hand. Award sustained a gunshot wound to the lower right quadrant of his back.
Within seconds of this exchange of gunfire, Sergeant Hull and Officer Souriyamath arrived on the scene and positioned their vehicles on the opposite side of Route 153 directly in the line of fire. Additional State Police Troopers arrived at about the same time Detective Wisner was firing his weapon. Detective Wisner had been shot and was trapped inside his vehicle and needed to be rescued and taken to the hospital for treatment. This rescue put those troopers in substantial risk of being harmed by the suspect(s) who had fired upon Detective Wisner.
Connecticut State Police Sergeant Keith Graham had arrived taking command of the scene. He attempted to calm the situation by speaking with Award and Alvarado who were trapped in the stolen Mercury they had taken under duress from Barriere just minutes earlier. Award was suffering from at least one gunshot wound to his torso and unable to free himself from operator’s position of the overturned vehicle. Alvarado, who had already been shot by Detective Wisner in the chest area, was in the right front passenger compartment floor area and not complying with the commands of numerous troopers to show his hands and not pick up a firearm that could be seen in his reach. The fact that Alvarado made statements to Award to the effect that “I just shot a cop! So fuck it! I’m going out now!” after being shot by Detective Wisner, and the fact that Alvarado asked Sergeant Graham what the sergeant would do if Alvarado did pick up his weapon, clearly indicate Alvarado’s frame of mind at that moment in time. It appears that Alvarado was attempting to take his own life by having a police officer shoot him. Approximately three minutes and twenty seconds after Sergeant Graham arrived and began to engage Alvarado in dialogue, Alvarado made the conscious decision to pick up a firearm and point it at Sergeant Graham. Sergeant Graham, in fear of his safety and the safety of others, made the decision to discharge his Sig Sauer .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol, model P220, one time at Alvarado, and, more likely than not, struck Alvarado’s right hand pinky and ring finger region. This caused the revolver that Alvarado was holding to break apart and fall out his hand(s) to the ground. Alvarado was then handcuffed and removed from the vehicle and transported to the hospital. Alvarado subsequently died from his gunshot wound to the chest. Based upon forensic laboratory ballistic testing, it was Detective Scott Wisner who fired the shot that struck Alvarado in the upper chest region, not Sergeant Graham.
At the time that members of the Connecticut State Police encountered Jonathan Alvarado and Sebastian Award on Route 153 in the Town of Westbrook, the two had already terrorized, kidnapped, robbed and unlawfully restrained Carolyn Barriere and Christopher Lempicki and stolen one of the victim’s vehicle. At the Days Inn in Old Saybrook, both suspects had disregarded Old Saybrook Police Sergeant Donald Hull’s commands and assaulted him before engaging in pursuit members of the Old Saybrook Police Department and the Connecticut State Police, endangering the lives of all those involved, including other motorists. Furthermore, Award played a significant role that set into motion the chain of events that led police on a pursuit which resulted in a motor vehicle accident involving the stolen Mercury Milan that he was operating, along with Alvarado as a front seat passenger, when they collided with Detective Scott Wisner’s vehicle on Route 153 in Westbrook.
Based on the totality of circumstances that occurred on Monday, April 8, 2013, just moments after the two vehicles collided and came to rest down an embankment off Route 153, Alvarado made a conscious decision with total disregard for human life to shoot at and strike Detective Wisner at very close range knowing he was a police officer. In addition, based on statements made by Alvarado to Award moments after shooting, Detective Wisner indicated to the undersigned that Alvarado wanted to end his own life by having a police officer shoot him.
In fact, even after being shot by Detective Wisner at least once in his chest, Alvarado continued to disobey the commands of State Police Sergeant Keith Graham and several other members of the Connecticut State Police to raise his hands and not pick up the weapon. Alvarado disregarded those commands and asked the sergeant what he would do in the event Alvarado was to pick up the gun. Alvarado made a conscious decision to pick up the revolver, raise it and point it in the direction of Sergeant Graham causing Graham to fire a single shot at Alvarado for fear of being shot himself. Sergeant Graham’s single gunshot did strike Alvarado in his hand causing injury but did not cause the death of Alvarado. It was also reasonable for Sergeant Keith Graham to believe that Alvarado was using or about to use deadly physical force against Sergeant Graham. In order to defend himself and other police officers in close proximity from threat of serious physical injury or death, Sergeant Graham was justified in discharging his duty weapon at that moment in time.
Based on the totality of these circumstances, it was reasonable for Detective Scott Wisner, at the moment he fired his duty weapon consecutively seven times, to believe that Alvarado was using or about to use deadly physical force against Detective Wisner. In order to defend himself from the threat of serious physical injury or death, Detective Scott Wisner’s use of deadly physical force against Alvarado was appropriate and justified under Section 53a-22 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
No further action will be taken by the Division of Criminal Justice as a result of this incident.
Peter A. McShane
Judicial District of Middlesex
 The decision to call upon the Eastern District Major Crime District was made because of the participation of the Central District Detective and Troopers involved in the case.