Report of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury Concerning the Use of Deadly Force Resulting in the Death of Dylan Pape in Stamford, Connecticut, on March 21, 2016
On March 21, 2016, members of the Stamford Police Department responded to a 911 call reporting that Dylan Pape was outside his home 119 Wedgemere Road, Stamford, Connecticut with a gun. In the course of that response Dylan Pape, age 25, was shot in the street outside the residence by Stamford Police officers Lt. Christopher Baker and Sgt. Steven Perrotta and later died. This State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury was designated to conduct the investigation into the shooting and determine whether the use of physical force by the police officers was appropriate under Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 53a-22.
The purpose of this report is to determine if the use of deadly physical force by the police officers involved was appropriate under our law Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 53a-22.
Connecticut General Statute 51-277a provides:
(a) Whenever a peace officer, in the performance of such officer’s duties, uses 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 have the responsibility of determining whether the use of physical force by the peace officer was appropriate under section 53a-22. The division shall request the appropriate law enforcement agency to provide such assistance as is necessary to determine the circumstances of the incident.
(b) In causing such an investigation to be made, the Chief State’s Attorney shall, (1) as provided in section 51-281, designate a prosecutorial official from a judicial district other than the judicial district in which the incident occurred to conduct the investigation, or (2) as provided in subsection (a) of section 51-285, appoint a special assistant state’s attorney or special deputy assistant state’s attorney to conduct the investigation. The Chief State’s Attorney shall, upon the request of such prosecutorial official or special prosecutor, appoint a special inspector or special inspectors to assist in such investigation.
(c) Upon the conclusion of the investigation of the incident, the division shall file a report with the Chief State’s Attorney which shall contain the following: (1) The circumstances of the incident, (2) a determination of whether the use of physical force by the peace officer was appropriate under section 53a-22, and (3) any future action to be taken by the Division of Criminal Justice as a result of the incident. The Chief State’s Attorney shall provide a copy of the report to the chief executive officer of the municipality in which the incident occurred and to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection or the chief of police of such municipality, as the case may be.
In accordance with Section 51-277a and relevant Division of Criminal Justice policy, on March 21, 2016, Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane referred this matter to this State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury for an investigation and the issuance of a report regarding the death of Dylan Pape. Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo took initial steps with law enforcement immediately after the shooting to see that the scene was preserved and appropriate search warrants were obtained. The investigation was conducted by the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad (State Police).
After reviewing the State Police Investigation, the Medical Examiner’s autopsy report, the 911 call, the videos and speaking with witnesses, it is the conclusion of this State’s Attorney that the use of deadly force by Lt. Christopher Baker and Sgt. Steven Perrotta was appropriate under C.G.S. Sec. 53a-22 and that no further action will be taken by the Division of Criminal Justice as a result of the incident.
On Thursday, March 21, 2016, at 7:40 p.m. the Stamford Police Department (SPD) received a 911 call from a male reporting that Dylan Pape was in the driveway of 119 Wedgemere Road with a gun.
The 911 caller was in fact Dylan Pape, the deceased, who represented himself as his father Richard Pape and stated "Hi 119 Wedgemere Road. My son has a gun" and that he was in the driveway and the caller was in the house. He also stated that Dylan had made a threat "to do it." Dylan still pretending to be his father said that he was not sure what he meant by "to do it." When the 911 operator tried to keep Dylan on the line, Dylan said "I gotta go. He’s yelling."
In response to this call numerous Stamford Police Officers responded to Wedgemere Road. Subsequently the Stamford Police Special Response Team (SRT) arrived. Lt. Christopher Baker and Sgt. Steven Perrotta were members of the SRT. Lt. Baker was the commanding officer of the SRT and Sgt. Perrotta was one of two Team Leaders. Both were armed with Colt M-4 rifles. Bright lighting and a public address system were in use. Wedgemere Road is a paved cul de sac road ¼ mile long in a residential area with multiple houses on the street.
For approximately one hour members of the SPD were positioned on Wedgemere Road, as Dylan Pape walked from his car in the driveway to the street armed with what appeared to be a black pistol that was displayed when interacting with the Stamford police. The pistol was later determined to be a XBG Semi Auto BB Pistol capable of firing .177 BBs. The pistol looked like an actual semi-automatic pistol that could fire bullets.
Dylan Pape’s parents had arrived home at approximately the same time as Dylan and were made aware of the 911 call which neither Mr. or Mrs. Pape had made.
During his interactions with the Stamford Police, Dylan Pape was spoken to by a number of Stamford police officers, including members of the department who knew Dylan and his family. Dylan was repeatedly told to drop the gun, that he was loved and that if he continued to get close to the police the K-9 police dog would be released.
Shortly after the initial police response, the SRT was requested and was headed by Lt. Christopher Baker. Once Lt. Baker arrived at the scene he took over as the incident commander.
At approximately 8:42 p.m. Dylan Pape again approached the officers with the gun in his hand. Sgt. Perrotta made a decision to order the police dog to be released by the officer handling the dog. As the dog made contact with Dylan Pape, he raised his right hand holding the pistol and was shot by Lt. Baker and Sgt. Perrotta. Dylan Pape later died of his injuries at the hospital.
The information below is reported by source and witness. As the information is from each source/witness, there is some repetition of information. Throughout this report the deceased will be referred to as Dylan Pape and Dylan to avoid confusion with his parents Linda and Richard Pape.
The following was obtained through an investigation of the State Police led by the case officers Det. Michael Grabowski and Det. Christopher Allegro, both of the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad and initially instituted by the Stamford Police Department.
A number of neighbors were witnesses to the situation and gave similar oral or written statements as to what occurred. Neighbor witnesses below will be referred to by their tab number in the investigation binder.
Neighbor Witness 4H
At approximately 8:00 p.m. this neighbor heard Dylan Pape and his father Richard Pape screaming back and forth in the driveway of 119 Wedgemere Road. Richard Pape was told to go inside by the police and eventually did. After calling for his father, Dylan Pape walked up the street toward the police. He appeared to have a gun in his hand. Police officers told Dylan that he is loved and that he doesn’t want to do this as well as also telling him to put the gun down repeatedly. Dylan walked back and forth between the driveway and the street several times getting closer to the police. They told him he had to get back and they didn’t want to hurt him. The police were patient with Dylan pleading with him and trying everything they could think of. Officers who knew Dylan talked to him. Another neighbor talked to him and tried to get him to put the gun down.
Neighbor Witness 4H had to step away from viewing the incident before the shooting and noted that the last thing seen was Dylan holding the gun pointing it at the ground. The neighbor also noted that the police did a commendable job and was not sure what else they could have done. "He had a weapon. And the police tried and tried and tried. The officers attempted to use positive supportive statements to gain Dylan’s cooperation. From everything I saw, I believe Dylan was on a mission."
Neighbor Witness 4I
At approximately 8:00 p.m. this neighbor heard a loudspeaker outside on the street of his home and went to see what it was. He saw multiple police vehicles, lights and heard voices that he recognized. He went outside and offered to help as he knew Dylan Pape and thought Dylan might listen to him. He was told to go back inside. At some point he saw Dylan standing holding a gun. Officers were pleading with Dylan to drop the gun. Ofc. Bryan Cooper who knew Dylan asked him to drop the gun and told him they wanted to help him, that they loved him and his family loved him.
The neighbor said that Dylan would stand still and then walk toward the officers holding the gun. Every time he started forward things got tenser with officers shouting for Dylan to move back. He would move back, forward and then go back down the street toward the driveway and light a cigarette. He then would walk back up the street always holding the gun at his side, coming within 10 feet of the police. The police gave warnings to back up and drop the gun. Dylan was not listening.
At some point a dog came down the street and Dylan bent over and was obscured to the neighbor by a bush. The neighbor heard three shots were fired, two close together followed by another single shot. For this neighbor, the entire situation took place between 8:00 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
Neighbor Witness 4K
At approximately 8:00 p.m. this neighbor saw Dylan Pape leaning against his car with blaring music coming from the car. Stamford Police were already at the scene and a female officer on a loudspeaker was telling Dylan to put the gun down and talk this through. The neighbor saw Dylan pull a gun from his waist band and walk toward police. He was told to stop walking toward the police and to put the gun down. He was told that if he kept walking toward them they would release the dog. Dylan walked back to his car, lit a cigarette, put the gun back in his waist band and then went to pet his dog.
Dylan approached the police a number of times with the gun in his hand, then going back to the driveway and back to the lawn to pet the dog and smoke a cigarette. The police were always telling him to stop and to talk about it. Every time he approached the police he took the gun out. Two officers who knew Dylan were there and begged him to stop and talk it out. Dylan got closer to the police than he ever had and they again told him to stop and put the gun down. Dylan again went back to his car. Just before the shooting, as Dylan again approached the police with the gun out, the neighbor heard multiple voices say "Stop! Don’t! Don’t!" The neighbor then heard three shots and saw Dylan drop to the pavement and saw the police dog on Dylan’s arm. SWAT (SRT) officers approached Dylan who was on the ground. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) came in and put Dylan on a stretcher and took him away. During the incident the neighbor couldn’t tell if Dylan was talking to the police because the music from Dylan’s car was so loud.
This neighbor felt the police shooting was a last resort. The police had attempted to talk to Dylan and wanted a peaceful outcome. "The only demands were to put down the gun or K9 would be released and that was because he was so close."
Neighbor Witness 4P
On the evening of March 21, 2016, while standing in his driveway this neighbor heard a male voice shout on a bullhorn instructions, including "Get down" and "Drop the gun." He realized the incident was taking place at the end of the street. He was aware of a prior incident with Dylan Pape where Dylan was in possession of a knife. The neighbor could not see the incident which took place for 50 to 60 minutes as the police negotiated with the subject. Approximately one hour after the incident began the neighbor heard three gun shots.
The neighbor wished to voice his opinion to the State Police that the "Man With a Gun Call" was "out of control" and "over the top." He indicated that the police "running around" wearing "riot gear" and wearing helmets was "an extreme over-reaction" on the part of law enforcement.
The neighbor also had never witnessed such an event in real life and did not know what Dylan was thinking. He acknowledged that the police "… may have feared for their lives, I don’t know."
Linda Pape (Mother of Dylan)
Mrs. Linda Pape spoke to the State Police and provided a written statement to this State’s Attorney. In her statement she said that she had come home about 7:40 p.m. Dylan was in his car on the telephone. She went into the house and then came back out. Dylan told her "Mama, please step back…I have a gun." She said to him "Dylan are you kidding?" Dylan repeated it again calmly. Mrs. Pape ran into the house to get her husband Richard and Richard ran out to talk to Dylan. The Stamford police called the house and said that Richard had just called to report that Dylan had a gun and it was a threatening situation. Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Pape had called. Back outside the police were arriving and telling Richard to get back in the house. Dylan held both sides of his head and said "I am so tormented." Mrs. Pape thought this might be from a concussion Dylan had experienced nine days earlier.
Police told Mr. Pape to get in the house and Dylan said "I love you dad. I love you dad." Mrs. Pape said that "…no BB gun was ever exposed during that time by the house." There was so much yelling that Mr. Pape came into the house. The police called and said Mr. and Mrs. Pape needed to leave the house.
Mr. and Mrs. Pape were taken from the house to a police car and put into the back seat. Mrs. Pape observed a lot of men running around and the situation seemed chaotic with a lot of activity and yelling. Mr. Pape asked to speak to Dylan numerous times and was denied by police. They then heard shots and an officer ran up the hill yelling to someone and said "The dog distracted him and they got a clear shot." There were so many police cars on the street that the ambulance was delayed in getting to Dylan. Mrs. Pape heard another officer yell "We F’d up!"
Mrs. Pape believes the police did not handle the situation properly and it was not properly evaluated. She again observed that no BB gun was ever exposed at the house that she saw. Mrs. Pape and Mr. Pape did not feel threatened by Dylan. Dylan was walking slowly and Mr. Pape left the driveway because SWAT (SRT) kept yelling.
Richard Pape (Father of Dylan)
Mr. Richard Pape reported that on March 21 he arrived home and Dylan was in his car, on the telephone and he seemed agitated. Mrs. Pape spoke to Dylan who said he had a gun. They did not know where he would have gotten a gun from as all of theirs were locked up. When Dylan got out of the car Mr. Pape saw that Dylan had a gun in his hand. Mr. Pape told Dylan to give him the gun but he would not. Mr. Pape saw police cars coming up the street. The police called the house and told Mrs. Pape to get Mr. Pape inside. Mr. Pape kept telling Dylan to put the gun down and the police kept yelling for Mr. Pape to go inside. Mr. Pape stated that he was not worried because his son was not trying to do anything to him and was not pointing the gun at him.
Because of all the yelling Mr. Pape thought it would be better to go inside. Mr. and Mrs. Pape were taken from the house by police through the woods to a police car. Mr. Pape saw Dylan walk to the police and then back to the house while there were 12 police officers with rifles pointed at Dylan. Mr. Pape said that he kept telling the police that he could talk to his son and kept pleading with them to let him go down and talk to Dylan before the situation escalated. He said that he was repeatedly told no and that there was a negotiator on the way.
After Dylan was shot, Mr. Pape heard an officer say something like "well the dog made him kinda squirrely and we had to fire, we had to shoot."
The Papes reported that Dylan was a cancer survivor and as a result of treatment had developed congestive heart failure. Dylan also had anxiety and depression and attended Alcoholics Anonymous for alcohol addiction. Dylan worked for a plumber and was driving a rental car because he had been in a fender bender.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Pape were cooperative with the investigation and consented to a search of Dylan’s room.
Police Witnesses - Stamford Police Officers
Over the course of the investigation a number of Stamford Police Officers submitted reports or were interviewed by the State Police. Their reports are consistent with regard to the behavior of Dylan Pape on March 21, 2016. Selected officer observations are included below.
Officer Thomas Comerford
Officer Thomas Comerford was asked to respond to 119 Wedgemere Road because of his knowledge of Dylan Pape and the Pape family. Ofc. Comerford arrived at the scene at approximately 8:15 p.m. on March 21, 2016.
Ofc. Comerford also spoke to Dylan over the police loudspeaker identifying himself. He saw Dylan walking back and forth between Dylan’s house and dog and the police. He saw the gun that Dylan was holding in his right hand. Dylan would not listen to the police commands to drop the gun and back up. Dylan said to Ofc. Comerford "I miss you Tommy." Ofc. Comerford told him that he missed him and loved him and that he needed to drop the gun before someone got hurt.
Regarding the shooting, Ofc. Comerford reported that Dylan went back to the driveway and stood by the black car. Dylan started to walk back up the street to the police with the gun in his right hand. Dylan then put the gun in the rear of his waist band. The K-9 officer Mark Tymon moved into position with the police dog and released him. When Dylan saw the dog approaching him Dylan grabbed the gun with his right hand. Dylan raised the gun in the direction of the police. Ofc. Comerford heard shots fired and saw Dylan drop to the ground, dropping the gun. He saw Dylan appear to be reaching in the direction of the gun after he fell to the ground. Officers moved in and kicked the gun away from Dylan’s reach.
Ofc. Comerford went to speak with Mr. and Mrs. Pape and explained that the area was now a crime scene. Moments later EMTs attended to Dylan and took him to Stamford Hospital. Mr. and Mrs. Pape were taken to Stamford Hospital as well.
Ofc. Comerford had spoken with Mr. and Mrs. Pape about two weeks before March 21. Mrs. Pape had indicated that Dylan had been sober for months but had recently relapsed while on vacation and continued to drink after his return. After March 21 Mrs. Pape said that prior to the police arriving Dylan had made a comment about not being able to deal with his mental illness anymore before telling her he had a gun and to go inside. Mr. Pape said that all of his guns were locked up in a safe and he was the only one with the combination. Neither parent could figure out how Pape had gotten access to a gun.
Ofc. Bryan Cooper
Stamford Police Officer Bryan Cooper was called to the scene at 119 Wedgemere Road because of his knowledge of Dylan, the Pape family and because in September 2014 he had been able to diffuse a prior situation in which Dylan was holding a knife.
Ofc. Cooper also spoke to Dylan on March 21 over a loudspeaker imploring him to drop his gun which he observed Dylan holding in his right hand and at various times put into his waist band. At one point Dylan got so close to the police that the police moved back. Officer Cooper told Dylan to put the gun down and that lot of people loved and cared about him. Thereafter Ofc. Comerford arrived and both officers tried getting Dylan to put the gun down.
At one point Dylan was seen going back to the house and trying to get in the front door. He was unable to get into the house and went back toward the street.
As Dylan got closer to the police, Ofc. Cooper heard Dylan say to another officer "I see your .45 pointed at me, how many rounds do you think I can get off?" Dylan then walked back toward the driveway and stood by his car with the music blasting.
Dylan then walked back up the street toward the police with the gun in his right hand. Officer Tymon let the police dog go after Dylan. Ofc. Cooper saw Dylan raise his right hand with the gun still in it and pointed it toward the police. Ofc. Cooper heard a couple of shots and saw Dylan fall to the ground. Police officers approached Dylan and called for the EMTs. Dylan was placed in an ambulance that then left the scene.
Ofc. Cooper spoke with Mrs. Pape who said that Dylan had recently gotten home from a vacation he had taken by himself and admitted he had relapsed on alcohol. She said that she told him that she was going to get him help. Dylan had been working every day but after work Mrs. Pape believed he was drinking.
Mrs. Pape said that today she went outside when she heard music from Dylan’s car blaring and to see what he was doing. Dylan told her to go inside, he had a gun and he didn’t want her to get hurt. She did not know where Dylan could have gotten a gun.
She told her husband what was going on and he went outside to speak with Dylan. She received a call from Stamford police and was told that Stamford police were in the street and for both to go inside and lock their doors.
Ofc. Mark Tymon (K-9 officer)
Ofc. Mark Tymon was part of the Stamford Police Department K-9 Unit. His dog partner was an eight year old German Shepard named Titan. On March 21, 2016, Ofc. Tymon was called to respond with the dog to 119 Wedgemere Road. Ofc. Tymon also observed Dylan with a gun in his right hand. At one point in the incident as Dylan was getting too close to the police he had the dog start barking which caused Dylan to look in the direction of the dog. Ofc. Tymon also instructed Dylan to drop his gun.
Regarding the shooting, Dylan had walked back from his driveway toward the police. The police were instructing Dylan not to come any closer. Ofc. Tymon was positioned behind a tree with the police dog and the dog was quiet. Ofc. Tymon received instructions to move his position which he did to one behind a marked patrol car. Dylan was very close to the police and had the gun in his right hand. Ofc. Tymon heard someone say "release the dog." He was unable to do it immediately because of his position, but upon changing it he did release the dog. At this time Dylan was approximately 20 feet away from Ofc. Tymon with the gun in his right hand. Ofc. Tymon remained focused on the dog and he heard several shots and saw that the dog had made contact with Dylan’s leg. Ofc. Tymon did not remove the dog until instructed to do so. Thereafter he took the dog back to a patrol car.
Lt. Christopher Baker
On June 13, 2016, Lt. Christopher Baker and his attorney Eric Daigle met with State Police detectives and verified his written statement that had been previously provided to the State Police. Lt. Baker’s statement to the detectives was sworn to.
On March 21, 2016, Lt. Christopher Baker was commanding officer of the Special Response Team (SRT). He responded to 119 Wedgemere Road on report of a man with a gun and Stamford Police Lt. Tom Scanlon requested tactical support. Lt. Baker contacted Sgt. Steven Perrotta and Sgt. Brett Stoebel and asked them to respond as well with other SRT members.
As part of his statement, Lt. Baker reported hearing Stamford Police Lt. Scanlon attempt to coordinate with the K-9 officer on scene to release the dog because the male was getting too close to the officers.
Lt. Baker was armed with a pistol, rifle, and a 40 mm Less Than Lethal Launcher.[Footnote1] Lt. Baker believed that the male with the gun was either emotionally disturbed or was in an altered mental state.
Once at the scene Lt. Baker saw Dylan Pape repeatedly pull a gun from his waistband and put it back. Lt. Baker and others repeatedly asked Dylan to put the gun down.
Regarding the shooting incident itself, Lt. Baker and Sgt. Perrotta were near marked police cars. Lt. Baker’s statement regarding the shooting from this point reads as follows:
"Once there, I was met by Officers Cooper and Comerford. Officer Comerford continued to try to speak to the subject pleading with him to put the gun down and talk to him. As he did so I observed the male pull the gun from his waistband and put it back several times. I know from my tactical training that the "lines in the sand" concept includes my responsibility to tell the male that he cannot come too close to the officers as we had no other safe place to retreat to. I conveyed this to the male subject by shouting these directions. I glanced behind me and observed more than 20 officers and vehicles behind my position that would be exposed to the threat of an armed male if he continued toward us.
As the male stood in the middle of the road his actions became even more erratic as he again pulled the gun from his waistband. I was at the range of 30 yards and began yelling as loud as I could for him to drop the gun. I pleaded with the male to put the gun down and that there were many officers that were willing to talk to him. I observed the male look up to the sky and say something to the effect, "Goodbye God." He then put the gun back into his waistband and stood there. I was still in close proximity to the less than lethal launcher and decided if I utilized that option while the male had the gun in his waistband, it may provoke a violent confrontation as I knew that the hard baton round most likely would not have incapacitated the male.
I continued my commands to put his hands up and not to touch the gun. He then took the gun back out of his waistband and looked intently to my right as if he was trying to see someone. This had clearly turned into an imminent situation despite our attempts to put time and space in front of this male subject.
The male abruptly began walking directly towards me as I was in between the car door and the A post of the marked police car. I had the spotlight of the car trained on the male and clearly observed the gun in his hand. I again took a quick look behind me to see if there was anywhere that I could retreat to and found that many officers were just behind me and the street was filled with police vehicles and people. I began yelling again to put the gun down as he began closing the distance between me and him.
At that point I caught site of our Police K-9 in my peripheral vision run from my right towards the male subject. I observed the dog make contact with the male in the middle of the street as he was quickly progressing toward my position. I was screaming for him to just drop the gun. The male continued moving in the street as the K-9 was in contact with his leg(s) and with his right hand he raised the barrel of his gun in my direction. I immediately feared for my life as well as the lives of the officers behind me and fired my rifle twice at an approximate range of what appeared to me to be 20-25 yards. I observed the male stagger to the ground while the K-9 was still making contact with the male’s leg(s). I saw that the gun had fallen to the ground but was still in arm’s reach and yelled out not to approach yet."
The rifle referred to by Lt. Baker was a Colt M-4 rifle.
Sgt. Steven Perrotta
On June 13, 2016, Sgt. Steven Perrotta and his attorney Eric Daigle met with State Police detectives and verified his written statement that had been previously provided to the State Police. Sgt. Perrotta’s statement to the detectives was sworn to.
Sgt. Steven Perrotta had been with the Stamford Police Department for 12 years and was one of two Team Leaders on the SRT. On March 21, 2016, he was home when he received a call from Lt. Baker informing him of an emotionally disturbed person with a gun threatening suicide. He responded to the SRT bay and put on his gear. When he learned that the address was 119 Wedgemere Road, he thought the suicidal person might be Dylan Pape. Sgt. Perrotta had known Dylan for 10 years and knew him to have emotional problems.
Sgt. Perrotta went to the scene with his Colt M-4 rifle. Once at the scene he heard Dylan telling Ofc. Comerford "Tommy, I love you." Ofc. Comerford was telling Dylan to put down the gun. He was trying to tell Dylan to follow instructions.
Sgt. Perrotta moved his positions several times while at the scene and Dylan was walking back and forth in the street and back to the house.
Regarding the shooting itself Sgt. Perrotta wrote in his statement:
"There was a police vehicle just to my left and I took cover on the right side of the vehicle and Dylan was close to the middle of the road and walking towards us. I lost sight of Lt. Baker and Officer Tymon. Dylan had the gun in his right hand and it was by his side. I had my rifle up and pointed at Dylan. My EOTech Optics were on and I had the upper dot pointed just above Dylan’s chest line. I think I was kneeling down. I tried to position my shield for added protection but Dylan was so close that I could not safely take the time to manipulate it. I think it fell to my side.
Dylan continued walking towards us in a manner that was different from how he had been walking before. He seemed more determined in his walking, like he had a plan in his head. I checked the safety on my rifle with my thumb several times and remember thinking to myself that I hope Dylan drops the gun or that I might have to shoot him.
It would have been unsafe and impractical for all the officers to retreat from our current positions. Dylan was dangerously close to the officers that were on the front line. I knew that if Dylan kept walking towards us with his gun in his hand we would have to shoot him or risk being killed by him. I feared for my life and the lives of the officers near me so I instructed Officer Tymon to release his dog. Officer Tymon appeared to my right and warned Dylan about releasing his dog but Dylan’s actions did not change. I instructed Officer Tymon to release his dog and he did.
As Officer Tymon’s dog approached Dylan he squared off to the dog and lowered his center of gravity as if getting in a fighting stance. As Officer Tymon’s dog latched onto Dylan, he raised his right hand with the gun in it. As he raised the gun it was pointing in the direction of me and Officer Tymon. I feared that Dylan would shoot me, Officer Tymon, or the SRT Operators to his left side. Just before the gun reached the level of being parallel with the ground I fired one shot from my M-4 rifle. I remember my right ear ringing and almost immediately after my shot (almost simultaneous with it) I heard another shot from my left. I found out later that Lt. Baker had taken cover on the left side of the same vehicle that I had taken cover on and that he also shot Dylan.
The next thing I remember seeing is Officer Tymon’s dog pulling Dylan to the ground. I saw the handgun approximately 10 feet in front of Dylan on the street. I started to approach Dylan but Lt. Baker instructed me to stop. I then observed the SRT operators that had taken position on Dylan’s left approach him. When they reached Dylan I approached the handgun and secured it by kneeling over it without touching it."
Following the shooting both Lt. Baker’s and Sgt. Perrotta’s firearms were secured in a police car.
The residence at 119 Wedgemere Road had a home surveillance system that was recovered by the State Police. The camera views showed the front door of the home and the driveway area by the garage. A limited view of the street is visible, but not the area where the shooting occurred. There is no sound on the video.
The time stamps on the video show Dylan Pape arriving home at 7:27 p.m. in a black Chevrolet Camaro. He remains in the car. His father Richard Pape and mother Linda Pape arrive home at 7:37 p.m. Dylan Pape leaves the car at 7:43 p.m. It is now dark out and visibility is limited in regard to the street. At 7:47 p.m. Richard Pape goes out to the driveway and is seen talking to Dylan. There is a distance between them. Dylan is by the car and police spotlights in the area are apparent. After a several minute conversation with Dylan, Richard Pape walks back to the house, stops in the driveway, walks back toward Dylan and then back to house.
At 8:00 p.m. Dylan walks to the front door of the home, speaks with his father and then goes back down the walkway leading to the driveway. A gun is visible in the back of Dylan’s pants. At 8:10 p.m. Dylan walks back to the front of the house and then back to the family dog that is outside on the front lawn. From this point on Dylan is walking to the car, to the street and to the dog at various times and is smoking.
At 8:42 p.m. the family dog who has been on the front lawn jumps up apparently startled and runs to the house.
Time line and Investigation
At the scene on the evening of March 21, 2016, the State Police recovered the gun that Dylan had been carrying. When recovered it did not contain the CO2 cartridge required to be operable. It was the XBG Semi Auto BB Pistol (Exhibit 13) pictured below:
The State Police established the following partial timeline for Dylan Pape on March 21, 2016:
5:21 p.m. - Dylan purchases a XBG Semi Auto BB pistol at Walmart in the Sporting Goods Department. The box and receipt for this item is found in Dylan’s car as well as various medications.
5:40 p.m. - Dylan sees a doctor at Norwalk Community Health Center for approximately 15 minutes. The doctor reported that Dylan arrived and appeared normal with no indication of stress, duress or pressure. A prescription was printed for Dylan and he left.
6:35 p.m. - Dylan goes to a friend’s house. The friend reported that he learned that when Dylan had returned home from a vacation he had started drinking again and had been drinking before he had gotten to the friend’s house. The friend invited Dylan to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that evening with him and Dylan said he would try to make it if he could. The friend indicated that Dylan appeared to be open to making future plans, did not appear to be suicidal and the friend did not notice anything out of the ordinary about Dylan’s attitude.
7:27 p.m. - Dylan Pape arrives home in the rented black Chevrolet Camaro.
7:40 p.m. - Stamford police receive the 911 call from Dylan representing himself as his father.
8:43 p.m. – Shots are fired.
Dr. James Gill, Chief Medical Examiner, performed an autopsy on Mr. Pape at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington on March 22, 2016. Dr. Gill determined that Mr. Pape’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the abdomen and the manner of death was suicide.
Dr. Gill noted in his suicide finding that Mr. Pape deliberately provoked police to shoot. It is unclear from the autopsy report where the information to support this conclusion was obtained. This State’s Attorney’s report considers the evidence from the state police investigation, Mr. Pape’s family members who were spoken with, a telephone interview with one of the neighbors, as well as the autopsy report in reaching the conclusions.
The autopsy toxicology report revealed the following information:
- Caffeine – positive
- Diphenhydramine (antihistamine) 60 ng/mL
- Ethanol - Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) - .132 (g/100 ml)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac) – 130 ng/mL[Footnote2]
- Lamotrigine – 2.6 mcg/mL[Footnote3]
- Nicotine – positive
- Norfluoxetine - 260 ng/mL[Footnote4]
The following injuries were noted by the autopsy:
Mr. Pape had two gunshot wounds to his body, one to his upper right abdomen and the other to his right upper arm. The gunshot wound to the body did not exit the body and the bullet was recovered and provided to the State Police. This gunshot perforated the liver, right kidney in inferior vena cava. The gunshot wound to the right arm did exit the arm after fracturing the right humerus.
There were also abrasions to the right thigh and lower torso consistent with contact with the police dog. Also noted were abrasions to Mr. Pape’s right forehead and knee.
The applicable law in this case is C.G.S. Sec. 53a-22(c) which states in relevant part:
c) A peace officer, … …is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person… …only when he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to: (1) Defend himself or herself or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force; or (2) effect an arrest or prevent the escape from custody of a person whom he or she reasonably believes has committed or attempted to commit a felony which involved the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury and if, where feasible, he or she has given warning of his or her intent to use deadly physical force.
In State v. Smith, 73 Conn App. 173, 185, cert denied 262 Conn. 923 (2002), the Connecticut Appellate Court stated the standard to be used in determining if an officer’s use of force was justified and reasonable. In making this determination, the Court held that one must look at both the "subjective" and "objective" reasonableness of the officer’s conduct. Using this two-step analysis, one must look first at whether or not based on the evidence the officer honestly believed that deadly force was necessary and if honestly believed that that belief was objectively reasonable.
In the present case, Lt. Baker and Sgt. Perrotta arrived at the scene with the knowledge or reasonably believing that:
- They were responding to a call of a male with a gun and that the male may have been emotionally disturbed;
- The male was repeatedly displaying what appeared to be firearm and refused all commands to drop the weapon;
- The male repeatedly approached the police with the apparent firearm even after being warned not to do so by the police, of which several were known to him;
- The male when approached by the police dog raised the gun in his right hand and pointed it in the direction of the police; and
- Their lives and the lives of others in the area were in jeopardy when the male pointed the gun in their direction
At the time of the shooting, the actual nature of the Dylan Pape’s firearm was unknown to the officers. It was objectively reasonable for the officers to assume the gun was loaded and capable of firing bullets that could kill them or those around them. That the gun that Dylan Pape held was at that time a BB gun incapable of firing a bullet does not affect this determination of justifiable behavior by the officers. It is the reasonable belief of the officers at the time they were called to act.
Based on the facts of this case, as determined from the Connecticut State Police investigation, including witness statements, the 911 call, the Medical Examiner’s autopsy report and conversations with witnesses, this State’s Attorney has determined that Lt. Christopher Baker and Sgt. Steven Perrotta subjectively believed that deadly physical force was necessary and that belief was objectively reasonable under our law. Lt. Baker and Sgt. Perrotta acted within the parameters of C.G.S. Sec 53a-22(c) in that they reasonably believed deadly force was necessary to defend themselves or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.
As the United States Supreme Court has stated on the Fourth Amendment issue of the use of force by police:
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 for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments—in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving—about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation." (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.)
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396-97, 109 S.Ct. 1865, 104 L.Ed 2d 443 (1989).
The death of Dylan Pape on March 21, 2016, was a tragedy and this State’s Attorney extends his condolences to the Pape family on the death of their son and brother.
This State’s Attorney finds that based on the facts determined to exist in this case that Lt. Christopher Baker and Sgt. Steven Perrotta were justified under C.G.S. Sec. 53a-22(c) in using deadly physical force upon another person, that being Dylan Pape. They were justified based upon their reasonable belief that the use of such force was necessary to defend themselves and others. As such, this State’s Attorney determines that the use of deadly force was appropriate under C.G.S. Sec. 51-277a and no further action will be taken by the Division of Criminal Justice as a result of this incident.
This State’s Attorney thanks the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad for their thorough investigation and the Stamford Police Department and the Stamford/Norwalk State’s Attorney for their cooperation.
Dated at Danbury, Connecticut this 6th day of October 2017.
Stephen J. Sedensky III
Judicial District of Danbury
1. A Less Than Lethal Launcher fires an impact projectile that does not penetrate the body.
2. Fluoxetine is a chemically-atypical antidepressant used to help control major depressive disorders.
3. Lamotrigine is a drug used in the treatment of epilepsy.
4. Norfluoxetine is a major metabolite of fluoxetine.