Report of the State’s Attorney Concerning the Death of Edward R. Gendron, Jr.
Legal Authority for the Report | Timeline | Circumstances of the Incident | Law Regarding the Use of Deadly Force by a Police Officer | Determination Concerning the Appropriateness of the Use of Deadly Force | Future Action To Be Taken | Appendix| Footnotes
Connecticut General Statutes Section 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 the above-referenced, Acting Chief State’s Attorney John Russotto assigned the undersigned New Britain State’s Attorney to conduct this investigation on January 20, 2020. I wish to acknowledge the Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad (CDMCS) for its invaluable assistance in conducting this investigation and the preparation of this report. The investigation into this incident by CDMCS included several hours spent processing the scene of the incident, thoroughly documenting the site and evidence with detailed reports, several hundred photographs, video of the scene, laser imaging, and collection of physical evidence. Apart from processing the scene and evidence located there, investigators interviewed multiple witnesses to relevant events, including the officer who discharged his weapon. Investigators also spoke with family members of the decedent and conducted a neighborhood canvass to attempt to locate additional witnesses and potential video evidence of the incident, interviewing another fourteen individuals. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) conducted an autopsy on the decedent and a toxicology analysis was performed. Other forensic testing included gunshot residue analysis, ballistics testing, fingerprinting of firearms involved, and DNA testing of firearms and evidence at the scene. The factual findings in this report are derived from the evidence obtained during this investigation.
In recognition of the public interest in the length of time these investigations take to complete, the following timeline of significant events is provided:
January 20, 2020 Use of Deadly Force, scene is processed, investigation begins
January 21, 2020 Post Mortem Examination conducted by Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME)
January 22, 2020 Positive Identification of decedent made by fingerprint records
January 28, 2020 ME 123 received by New Britain State’s Attorney
January 29, 2020 Public Act 19-90 Status Report submitted
February 7, 2020 Officer Ronald Tompkins is interviewed and provides statement
February 11, 2020 DNA, Latent Print and Firearms Reports received
February 14, 2020 CAD Reports and Training Records received from Waterbury PD
February 26, 2020 Supplemental DNA Report received
March 5, 2020 Officer Daniel Stanton Report received
March 19, 2020 Toxicology Report completed on decedent
April 1, 2020 Post Mortem Report received from OCME
April 1, 2020 Status Report submitted by New Britain State’s Attorney (NBSA)
May 8, 2020 Questions sent to Officer Stanton’s attorney
May 18, 2020 Response to May 8 queries received from Officer Stanton’s attorney
June 2, 2020 Weapon Query Result received
June 29, 2020 Completed Central District Major Crime Squad (CDMCS) investigation materials received by NBSA
July 15, 2020 NBSA Report submitted to OCSA
This tragic incident has its origins on January 19, 2020. On that morning, Linda Gugliotti awoke to a loud noise that she described as sounding like a burst pipe. When she went downstairs to investigate she found drywall on both her couch and floor and noted a hole in her wall and another in her ceiling. She described the hole in her ceiling as being about the size of a dime and called her property manager.
Suspected bullet holes at 83 Craigie Avenue
Ms. Gugliotti lives in a side-by-side duplex at 83 Craigie Ave. in Waterbury. The wall in which she found the bullet hole is a common wall shared with 81 Craigie Ave., the home of Edward R. Gendron, Jr. In a later call that afternoon to her property manager, Ms. Gugliotti expressed her concern that the holes in her wall and ceiling had been caused by a bullet. Although her property manager recommended that she call the police, she did not do so. Instead, the Waterbury Police Department became aware of this situation on January 20, 2020.
81-83 Craigie Avenue, Waterbury, CT
At approximately 12:03 p.m. on January 20, Noemi Olivieri, Ms. Gugliotti’s landlord, called 911 to alert the police department that the her tenant at 83 Craigie Ave. had found what she believed to be a bullet hole in a common wall. She conveyed to the dispatcher that her tenant at 81 Craigie Ave. was being evicted and had just been served by the marshal. At 12:16 p.m. at the conclusion of the 911 call made by Ms. Olivieri, three Waterbury police officers were dispatched to check on conditions at 81 Craigie Avenue. Those three officers were Officer Ronald Tompkins, Officer Daniel Stanton and Sergeant Jeffrey Hamel.
At approximately 12:23 p.m. Officer Tompkins arrived on scene and went to 83 Craigie Ave, Ms. Gugliotti’s home. He spoke to Ms. Gugliotti’s son, Anthony, and inspected what appeared to be bullet holes in the wall and ceiling. He then proceeded next door to 81 Craigie Avenue, alerting dispatch that the interior door to the residence was open. At this point, Officer Tompkins was the only Waterbury police officer on scene.
Officer Tompkins and the two other officers initially dispatched were in full uniforms and operating marked police vehicles. They were clearly identifiable as police officers. The Waterbury police department does not provide body cameras to their officers, has no policy on the use or wear of body cameras, and none of the officers dispatched in this case were wearing body cameras. Additionally, none of the vehicles being operated by these officers were equipped with dashboard cameras. In processing this scene, investigators made a diligent search for any relevant video or audio evidence from any source in the area. This included the residences involved and a neighborhood canvas. There is nether video nor audio evidence of what transpires in the home at 81 Craigie Avenue.
On January 20, 2020, Edward R. Gendron, Jr. was a 57 year old man with significant limitations on his mobility. He walked with the use of two forearm crutches as the result of a work-related injury and subsequent surgeries. He had no criminal record and was described by family members as someone who respected law enforcement. He possessed a valid pistol permit and had at least one firearm registered to him.
Mr. Gendron had been living in the duplex at 81-83 Craigie Ave. for more than twenty years. Despite being the only party allowed to reside in the home on the lease, he recently began to allow others to live there. He rented his basement to Cari and James Minicucci for $800 per month. A third person, Jennelle Malara, had moved into the master bedroom. As a result of this and other issues with his tenancy, he was being evicted from his longtime home. On January 8, 2020, a judgment of possession entered against him in housing court. A few days later he was served with the eviction notice.
The impending eviction appears to have weighed heavily on Mr. Gendron. All of the individuals with whom he lived noticed a change in his behavior in the weeks leading up to January 20, 2020. James Minicucci stated that Mr. Gendron was adamant about not vacating his home. Mr. Minicucci told police that Mr. Gendron had expressed a suicidal ideation to him a few days prior to this incident, saying that maybe he would just kill himself. Cari Minicucci described Mr. Gendron as a fantastic gentleman until the eviction process began. After that she said he “lost his mind” and began drinking even more heavily. Mr. Gendron’s behavior grew more erratic and she became aware that he had begun using methamphetamine. The day before this incident she was woken by the sound of Mr. Gendron firing one of his handguns through the wall. Jennelle Malara, who described herself as Mr. Gendron’s girlfriend, felt that Mr. Gendron’s depression had worsened in the days leading up to this incident blaming, in part, his use of alcohol and the stress of the eviction process.
There are four witnesses with relevant information concerning the encounter between Officer Tompkins and Mr. Gendron at 81 Craigie Avenue; Cari Minicucci, Officer Tompkins, Anthony Gugliotti and Officer Stanton. Only two of these witnesses were in the home at the time of the shooting; Officer Tompkins and Cari Minicucci.
Anthony Gugliotti is Linda Gugliotti’s son and resides at 83 Craigie Ave. Mr. Gugliotti was interviewed by a state police detective a few hours after these events and provided a sworn statement describing the following events. He is the first individual with whom Officer Tompkins makes contact at the scene. He brings Officer Tompkins into his home to inspect the bullet holes and then observes Officer Tompkins go next door to speak to Mr. Gendron. He observes that Mr. Gendron’s door is open and hears Officer Tompkins identify himself as a police officer and enter Mr. Gendron’s home. Mr. Gugliotti describes that a second officer (Officer Stanton) arrives on scene and Mr. Gugliotti begins to walk over to this officer when he hears shouting coming from Mr. Gendron’s house. Mr. Gugliotti could not make out what was being said, and then hears what he believed were two gunshots followed by another two gunshots. After hearing the gunshots, Officer Stanton runs into the house.
Officer Daniel Stanton
Officer Daniel Stanton declined to be interviewed in connection with this matter. Instead, he submitted an eleven sentence report approximately one and a half months after the incident occurred. This is the entirety of the report submitted:
“On 01/20/2020 1217hr this writer, Officer Tompkins and Sgt Hamel were dispatched to 81 Craigie Ave for a check conditions complaint.
“Upon arrival, Officer Tompkins was already on scene. This writer observed a male, later identified as Edward Gendron, bleeding from the left chest area. This writer went to the police vehicle to retrieve a medical bag/oxygen. This writer returned placing protective gloves on myself and then placed gauze over Mr. Gendron’s chest wound. I heard no comments or remarks from Mr. Gendron.
“This writer checked the pulse on Mr. Gendron and detected a light pulse. I then retrieved the oxygen tank out of the medical bag and placed the nose cannula on Mr. Gendron.
“At this time, the Waterbury Fire Department and Ambulance arrived on scene and took over first aid. I was advised by Sgt Hamel to stay with Mr. Gendron’s handgun. This writer made the gun safe by racking the slide bar and removing the bullet from the chamber.”
On May 8, 2020, questions for him were submitted to his attorney. Officer Stanton did not respond to these questions. Instead, a letter from his attorney was received that purported to answer the inquiries on his behalf. To date, Officer Stanton has never filed a supplemental report. As a result, it cannot be determined what, if anything, Officer Stanton heard outside the home that day. It cannot be determined if he was able to hear what was said between Mr. Gendron and Officer Tompkins. It cannot be determined how many gunshots he may have heard or even if he heard any gunshots.
While Officer Stanton is entitled to refuse to be interviewed, he must recognize that such conduct only serves to deepen the gulf of mistrust between police and the communities they serve. Each and every day, Waterbury officers expect civilian witnesses to consent to interviews and cooperate with them in the investigation of routine cases. And every day they do. It is unfortunate that Officer Stanton has chosen not to provide the same level of cooperation that police rely upon from civilians. This is particularly disheartening in a case in which one of their officers has taken the life of a resident.
Of the three individuals living with Mr. Gendron, Cari Minicucci is the only one home at the time of this incident. She was interviewed by a state police detective a few hours after these events. The interview was recorded. She described the events of January 20, 2020 beginning with her being downstairs in the area she was subletting when a police officer (Officer Tompkins) arrived at the door about twenty minutes after they had eviction papers left in the door. This prompted her to come upstairs where the officer was inquiring about a gunshot. She describes Officer Tompkins asking Mr. Gendron where the gun is and Mr. Gendron reaching for the gun. She says that Officer Tompkins tells Mr. Gendron repeatedly not to reach for the gun and that Mr. Gendron continues to reach for the gun. At this point the officer takes his gun out and Mr. Gendron says words to the effect that he is going to shoot the officer and then kill himself. Officer Tompkins and Mr. Gendron struggle for Mr. Gendron’s gun and Officer Tompkins is telling Mr. Gendron to let go of the gun and repeatedly telling him to stop. At one point Officer Tompkins tells Mr. Gendron that this isn’t what he wants and Mr. Gendron replies that he does. Officer Tompkins has one hand on his own gun and another on Mr. Gendron’s gun as they struggle. Ms. Minicucci describes the struggle as Mr. Gendron attempting to “bring his gun up” while Officer Tompkins struggles to keep Mr. Gendron’s “gun down and get it away.”
Ms. Minicucci described herself as four to five feet away with an unobstructed view of what was happening. She said she was shocked at Mr. Gendron’s behavior and that it was very out of character for him. She became frightened because she thought Mr. Gendron was going to shoot Officer Tompkins. She turned and ran back down the stairs. When she got to the last step she heard what she thought were four gunshots but isn’t certain of that. After hearing the shots she ran back upstairs and saw Mr. Gendron in his recliner. She described Officer Tompkins as shaking and a second officer (Officer Stanton) arriving.
Officer Ronald Tompkins
As previously noted, Officer Tompkins was fully cooperative in this matter. He consented to an interview and subsequently provided a sworn statement. In lieu of a summary, this is his sworn statement concerning these events.
The firearm possessed by Edward R. Gendron, Jr. referenced by Officer Tompkins and Ms. Minicucci as found on scene by the CDMCS.
Mr. Gendron was pronounced dead on the scene. On January 21, 2020 an autopsy was performed on Mr. Gendron by Dr. Gregory Vincent at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington. Dr. Vincent determined that Mr. Gendron died of two gunshot wounds to the chest. The toxicology report found Mr. Gendron to have a significant amount of alcohol in his system at the time of his death accompanied by Amphetamine and Methamphetamine. While these factors may not have been directly linked to his cause of death, they provide additional context to assist in understanding Mr. Gendron’s behavior that day.
Section 53a-22(c) of the Connecticut General Statutes permits a police officer to use deadly physical force upon another person when he reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend himself or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force. Section 53a-3(5) of the Connecticut General Statutes defines “deadly physical force” as physical force that can be reasonably expected to cause death or serious physical injury. Section 53a-3(4) of the Connecticut General Statutes defines “serious physical injury” as physical injury, which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.
The test to determine an officer’s reasonable belief is both subjective and objective. State v. Smith, 73 Conn. App. 173, 185–186, cert. denied, 262 Conn. 923 (2002).
First, the officer must believe that the use of deadly force is necessary to defend himself or another from the imminent use of deadly physical force. The police officer must honestly believe that this level of force is necessary in the immediate circumstances. In other words, the subjective portion of the test considers whether the police officer believed the use of deadly physical force was his only reasonable choice under the circumstances.
Second, the officer’s belief that deadly force is necessary must be objectively reasonable. This considers whether a reasonable officer placed in the shoes of the subject officer would have found it necessary to use deadly force under the circumstances.
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 thus whether the officer believed it was necessary to use deadly physical force and whether that belief was reasonable, based on the facts and circumstances known to the police officer at the time the decision to use deadly force was made. Cf.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 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 at 396–397 (1989). “The appropriate inquiry is whether the officers acted reasonably, not whether they had less intrusive alternatives available to them.” Scott v. Henrich, 39 F.3d. 912, 915 (9th Cir. 1992).
Officer Tompkins was faced with an armed individual who he honestly believed was about to shoot him. At the time he fired his weapon, Officer Tompkins was the only police officer in the home with Mr. Gendron, who, by both his words and actions, would have led anyone in these circumstances to believe that they were about to be shot. Ms. Minicucci similarly believed that Mr. Gendron was going to shoot Officer Tompkins. In light of the totality of the circumstances, it is clear that Officer Tompkin’s subjective belief that he was going to be shot was objectively reasonable as was his decision to use deadly force.
An application of Connecticut General Statutes 53a-22(c) to the facts of this case compels the conclusion that Officer Tompkins use of deadly force on Mr. Gendron was appropriate.
Lord Chancellor Hardwicke
 This portion of the report consists of legally relevant factual findings based upon the entirety of the investigation. It is not a verbatim record of the entire investigation. Consistent with the undersigned’s past practice, the entire investigatory file, with the exception of materials otherwise confidential, is available for review in the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office during regular business hours.
 Both Minicuccis use the term “crystal meth”, a common term for methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Although available by prescription, it is more commonly found as an illicitly produced street drug.
 Mr. Gendron told Mr. Minicucci that this was an accident.
 Both Mr. Gugliotti and Ms. Minicucci believe that they hear four gunshots. There were only two shots fired. This is confirmed by the evidence seized, the autopsy report and an examination of the two weapons involved. The only two shots fired were by Officer Tompkins. What the witnesses in all likelihood heard was two gunshots each accompanied by an echo as a result of the firearm being discharged in such a confined space.
 Officer Tompkins is the only Waterbury officer who consented to an interview. Officer Tompkins has been cooperative throughout this investigation. He voluntarily provided a DNA sample and provided a sworn statement concerning what occurred.
 The completeness, quality and timeliness of this report are internal, administrative matters that Officer Stanton’s supervisors may address.
 Connecticut’s Investigatory Grand Jury statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 54-47b et seq., would be the only possible avenue by which officers could be questioned without their cooperation. This cumbersome and rarely used process is not available in this case because, based upon the current state of the evidence, the undersigned cannot make the affirmation required by Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 54-47c(c)(4).
 Connecticut law simply does not provide a mechanism to compel Officer Stanton to answer these questions. Unlike prosecutors in virtually every other jurisdiction in the United States, Connecticut law fails to provide either a viable and effective grand jury system or investigative subpoenas. That means if an important witness does not wish to cooperate with an investigation, they do not have to cooperate.
 The command staff of the Waterbury Police Department has been fully cooperative in this matter. They were generous in the use of their facilities on the day this occurred and have been diligent in responding to requests for information. Officer Stanton’s refusal to be interviewed should not be read as a lack of cooperation by the command staff of the Waterbury Police Department.
 The ethanol level found in Mr. Gendron’s blood was .161.
 That report concluded:
“Although no further action is recommended by the Division of Criminal Justice with respect to Officer Galpin in this matter, it is difficult to ignore the prevalence of encounters between emotionally disturbed individuals and police officers in Connecticut that result in the use of deadly force. This is not an issue unique to Connecticut. It has been estimated that an individual suffering from mental illness is sixteen times more likely than someone not suffering from mental illness to be killed during a police encounter.
“Police officers in Connecticut are required to receive training both prior to being certified and during the recertification process in handling encounters with individuals appearing to be emotionally disturbed. The Division of Criminal Justice, as the agency with the ultimate constitutional responsibility for enforcing the criminal laws of this State, may consider partnering with other stakeholders to consider whether the quantity and nature of this training is consistent with current best practices. In addition, although Connecticut has a number of police departments with officers trained as Crisis Intervention Team Patrol Specialists, one result of Connecticut’s preference for local government is a proliferation of small police departments that lack the resources to ensure that trained CIT patrol specialists are available to respond as needed. The Division may, in partnership with other stakeholders, wish to consider whether this is an issue that merits further consideration.”
 https://www.jud.ct.gov/Publications/hm015.pdf (as accessed on July 8, 2020)
 This is not a matter of the assertion of the privilege against self-incrimination. Based upon this investigation, Officer Stanton would not have had a good faith basis to assert this privilege. He simply refused to be interviewed. Instead, Connecticut fails to provide a mechanism by which individuals can be placed before a neutral magistrate so they can assert their privilege. Understanding this requires a brief explanation of the privilege. The privilege against self-incrimination prohibits individuals from being compelled to answer questions that have a tendency to incriminate them. It is grounded in both the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Sec. 8 of the Connecticut Constitution. An example of a functioning grand jury system operating in Connecticut can be found in our federal courts. A federal prosecutor would have the ability to bring Officer Stanton before a grand jury and ask relevant questions concerning this incident. Officer Stanton would be required to appear and in response to specific questions he would be able to assert his privilege against self-incrimination. In re Grand Jury Subpoena, 739 F.2d. 1354, 1359–60 (8th Cir. 1984). His assertion of the privilege could then be evaluated by a neutral magistrate to determine whether he had a good faith basis to assert the privilege. In the trial context, Connecticut law is clear that it is the role of the trial court to determine whether the privilege is properly asserted. State v. Cecarelli, 32 Conn. App. 811 (1993). Connecticut law fails to provide this threshold mechanism at the investigative stage.