Report of the State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Tolland Concerning the Use of Deadly Physical Force Resulting in the Death of Richard P. Love on October 10, 2015INTRODUCTION
The following is a report concerning the tragic death of Richard P. Love on October 10, 2015.
Initially, I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Love.
Secondarily, I would like to acknowledge the assistance in this investigation from Inspector P.J. Clark of the Office of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Tolland.
I would also like to acknowledge the high level of cooperation shown by the Old Saybrook Police Department, the Connecticut State Police, and the Office of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Tolland.
Additionally, the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner provided valuable assistance in this case.
Finally, in terms of introduction, this report is written pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 51-277a. Connecticut General Statutes § 51-277a(a) provides that:
Whenever a police officer, in the performance of his 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 deadly physical force by the peace officer was appropriate under 53a-22.
Shortly after the incident, Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane notified me about the incident and asked me, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §51-277a(b)(1), to conduct this investigation on behalf of the Division of Criminal Justice. I responded to the scene with Inspector Clark. The Division of Criminal Justice requested, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §51-277a(a), that the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad assist in this investigation. Personnel from that unit had already arrived prior to my arrival on the scene.
The investigation in this case is concluded, and this report is filed pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 51-277a(c).
By October 9, 2015, Richard P. Love had become a suspect in four bank robberies. The four bank robberies occurred on September 29, 2015, in Richmond Rhode Island, October 2, 2015, in East Lyme, October 6, 2015, in Stonington, and on October 9, 2015, in Norwich. The Richmond Police Department, through their investigation, had obtained a warrant for Mr. Love’s arrest for the bank robbery that occurred in that town. Area departments had been working together to locate Mr. Love to arrest him on the Richmond warrant and complete the remaining investigations. On October 9, 2015, through this joint investigation, Mr. Love was located in a room at the EconoLodge motel in Old Saybrook.
The following factual findings are made as a result of the investigation of the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad, which not only included their own investigative efforts, witness statements, and reports, but also included, among other information, reports from the Richmond Police Department, reports from the Stonington Police Department, reports from the Groton Town Police Department, reports from the Norwich Police Department, reports from the Old Saybrook Police Department, reports from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Forensic Science Laboratory, reports from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and audio and visual evidence recovered in the course of this investigation.
On Thursday, September 24, 2015, members of the Richmond Police Department responded to the Citizens Bank located in the Stop & Shop supermarket in Richmond, for a reported bank robbery. A white male suspect was viewed via store surveillance video footage entering the store, approaching the teller and committing the robbery of $3,280.00. A suspect vehicle was identified, and images of the male suspect were broadcast in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, Richmond Police detectives received information from a security specialist at the Savings Institute Bank and Trust. They were informed that a male who matched the broadcast images from the Citizens Bank Robbery in Richmond, entered the Westerly, Rhode Island, Savings Institute and displayed suspicious behavior. The specialist sent the images to the detectives who identified him as the same person who robbed the Citizens Bank in Richmond. The suspect information was again broadcast to surrounding states and media outlets.
On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, Richmond Police detectives received information from an anonymous female caller who identified the bank robber as Richard Love (D.O.B. 11/12/83) of 131 Paul Revere Road, Groton. The caller stated that Richard Love and her sister, Melissa Pearson (D.O.B. 11/06/82), were dating. Detectives responded to the address, located the suspect vehicle, and attempted to stop the operator when the vehicle fled the residence. The vehicle was subsequently located and found to be registered to Pearson’s mother. Detectives drafted and executed a search warrant for the vehicle and spoke with Richard Love’s relatives. Information was developed that positively identified Richard Love as the robbery suspect. On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, Richmond detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Richard Love for Robbery in the 2nd Degree.
On Friday, October 2, 2015 at 09:33 hours, Troopers from the Connecticut State Police Troop-E barracks in Montville, along with Officers from the East Lyme Police Department, responded to the Coreplus Federal Credit Union in East Lyme for a reported bank robbery. Subsequently, Richard Love was positively identified by detectives via witnesses, video surveillance footage, and images from the prior bank robbery in Richmond. Richard Love fled the scene of the East Lyme robbery in a pickup truck registered in his name with $350.00 from the credit union. He abandoned the truck a short distance away. Detectives identified known associates of Richard Love and determined that he had obtained a ride from a friend in close proximity to the credit union to escape the area. The friend was subsequently identified as Scott Rainy (D.O.B. 09/24/80). Scott Rainy was located at a motel in Waterford, on Saturday, October 3, 2015, at 5:00 a.m. Upon being interviewed, Rainy provided information that Richard Love had been actively abusing drugs, including crack cocaine and heroin. Rainy said that he, Love, and Kimberly Wallen (D.O.B. 06/26/77) had been staying at various motels in southeastern Connecticut, as well as Old Saybrook, Middletown, New Britain, Newington, and Waterford, where they were currently staying. Rainy said Love would ask him to go into a motel to obtain the rooms and would hand him cash to pay for the rooms. He said the last time he saw Richard Love was with Kimberly Wallen when he dropped them off at a house in New London earlier in the day. Rainy said Love and Wallen were supposed to come back to the motel, but never did.
On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at 09:09 hours members of the Stonington Police Department responded to the Citizens Bank in Mystic for a reported bank robbery. Richard Love was positively identified as the person who robbed the bank of $5,950.00.
On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at 14:00 hours, the Groton Town Police Department hosted a meeting with Connecticut State Police and surrounding police departments in order to locate Richard Love. Information was disseminated about Richard Love and Kimberly Wallen. Old Saybrook Police Detective David Perrotti was informed that Richard Love might be staying at motels in Old Saybrook, based on the interview conducted with Scott Rainy.
On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, Detective Perrotti disseminated this information to all personnel in the Old Saybrook Police Department. All of the motels and motels in the Old Saybrook area were checked for Richard Love and known associates without any success.
On Friday, October 9, 2015, at 12:30 hours, members of the Norwich Police Department responded to a reported robbery at the Dime Bank in Norwich. An unknown amount of money was stolen. Richard Love was positively identified as the suspect. It was determined that Love had stolen a vehicle from a gas station across the street from the bank to utilize for the robbery and to flee the scene. The vehicle was abandoned a short distance from the bank. Various witnesses were documented as coming forward to identify Richard Love as the wanted bank robber in the area. Love’s family and others provided information that he had struggled with substance abuse, including use of heroin.
On Friday, October 9, 2015, at 22:28 hours, Christina Chesanek, owner of Fromage Fine Food and Coffees at 873 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, called Old Saybrook Police to report a suspicious white female, age 28-32 with a striped shirt, in front of the store sitting on a bench reaching into and out of a backpack. Chesanek requested an officer to patrol the area, as she was alone in the store and concerned. The evening shift of the Old Saybrook Police Department on Friday, October 9, 2015, consisted of Patrol Officers Shannon Miller #28, Philip Ciccone #25, Michael Small #19, and was supervised Sergeant Ryan Walsh #11. Dispatcher Michael Paradis was also working. At approximately 22:30 hours, Officer Miller was dispatched to the area of the Fromage store. A description of the female was put out over the radio and the entire evening shift responded to the area in an attempt to locate her. At 22:44:39 hours, Officer Miller located the female on Route 1 at the intersection of Old Boston Post Road attempting to hitchhike.
Officer Miller reported that she asked the female if she could be of any help to her and the female replied that she was homeless and was trying to get a ride to the motel Pier Blue. Sgt. Walsh arrived a short time later. Miller reported that she asked the female if she had any identification, which she did not. She verbally identified herself as Kimberly Wallen, date of birth of 06/27/77. Officer Miller reported that she recognized the name from roll call briefings as being associated with Richard Love and the recent bank robberies. Sgt. Walsh reported that he also recognized the name and requested Wallen’s information through the COLLECT law enforcement database. Officer Miller asked Wallen how she was to be in Old Saybrook that evening. Wallen responded that she had been “seeing” Richard Love for the past two weeks and that she was staying at the Super 8 Motel with Love and his cousin, Chris Spielman. Wallen explained that she awoke today in a motel room at the Super 8 and that Love and Spielman had left with all of their belongings. She said that she ran out of money and the staff kicked her out. Wallen stated that Love and Spielman were always whispering to each other about “bad things they did or were going to do.” Wallen could not elaborate on what she had heard. Wallen said that she last saw Love at about 9:00 a.m., and did not know where he and Spielman were. Wallen told Sgt. Walsh that Love had recently purchased a blue Kia motor vehicle.
It was determined through COLLECT that Kimberly Wallen had outstanding arrest warrants with AMTRAK Police for possession of narcotics and a non-extraditable warrant out of California. AMTRAK Police were contacted for confirmation and requested she be detained. Wallen was placed under arrest and searched incident to arrest. She was found to be in possession of two used hypodermic needles in her backpack. She stated that Richard Love must have put them in her bag before he left. Officer Small transported Wallen at 23:09:15 hours and arrived at the Old Saybrook Police Department at 23:10:55 hours.
While on scene with Wallen, Sgt. Walsh reported he made contact with Norwich Police Detective Sergeant Anthony Gomes who told him Richard Love and Kimberly Wallen were suspects in the bank robbery earlier in the day. Sgt. Walsh subsequently informed Det. Gomes that he could respond to the Old Saybrook Police Department to interview Wallen. Sgt. Walsh reported that he then directed Patrolmen Ciccone and Small to check area motels for the blue Kia and to inquire at the front desks if Richard Love or Chris Spielman had checked in recently. At 23:01 hours, Officer Ciccone contacted Sgt. Walsh to report that he had responded to the EconoLodge, 1750 Boston Post Road, where employee Bobby Das confirmed that Chris Spielman had checked in about an hour earlier and was assigned room 111. Ciccone reported that he showed Das a picture of Richard Love. Das stated that the picture did not look like the person who checked in, and that the person was alone.
Sgt. Walsh directed Officer Ciccone to take a post in the parking lot of the EconoLodge where he could maintain a visual with the motel room. Officer Ciccone did not locate a blue Kia in the parking lot. Sgt. Walsh stated he then contacted Chief Michael Spera #1 via telephone, at which time Chief Spera replied that he would be responding to the scene.
At 23:13:26 hours Sgt. Walsh requested that all available units stage at Sandy Point Road, which is south of the EconoLodge on the back side of the motel and cannot be viewed from room 111.
The EconoLodge is a three-level, commercial structure formally named the EconoLodge Inn and Suites. There are 45 rooms primarily on the first and second floors. There is a below ground basement that spans the majority of the floor plan with a rough poured concrete floor. The property is located on Boston Post Road, also known as Route 1, a paved, two-way heavily traveled street that runs primarily north and south in front of the motel.
The motel is situated approximately 200 feet off the right shoulder (south side) of Route 1. It is accessed via a driveway from Route 1 to the west of the motel and also can be accessed via a driveway from Sandy Point Road on the southwest.
There is a covered concrete walkway on the north facing, west side of the first floor and main motel entrance. Located on the north facing, east side of the motel is a large light colored composite deck with white vinyl rails. There is outside access to the deck from a set of stairs to the north. The east side of the motel is three stories, with a small balcony/deck on the north side third floor and multiple windows. The south side of the motel has an open concrete walkway on the first floor west side that accesses motel rooms. There are eight doors.
The north side of the building is primarily two stories tall. The first floor, north facing, west side of the building has access to motel rooms under the covered concrete walkway to the west of the main motel entrance, which is on the first floor west side. There is a small circular surveillance camera mounted on the east sidewall facing west down the covered concrete walkway. There is a solid half wall to the north of the walkway that runs east to west. There are five (5) first floor north facing motel rooms in this area. The room numbers run in sequence from east to west. The rooms are designated in order from east to west as #107, #109, #111, #113, #115, #117 and #119. There was a door located to the west of room #119 that accesses a stairwell to the second floor of the motel. There are three points of access from the covered concrete walkway in front of the rooms to the parking lot located to the north of the motel. There is no other access to these rooms other than the main entrances on the north side of the building.
Room 111 is on the first floor, north facing, on the west side of the motel. The entrance door faces north to the parking lot and is located under the covered concrete walkway. A series of recessed lights in the ceiling of the walkway were illuminated at the time of the incident. A solid half wall to the north runs east to west. The entrance door to room 111 is a solid metal, six-panel white door. A small light colored placard with dark lettering with the number “111” is affixed to the wall to the west of the door in close proximity to the door. The exterior of the door has a vertical, silver and black metal rectangular electronic swipe key card box with a solid silver color metal door handle in the middle. A red “do not disturb sign” was affixed upside down to the door handle. The door opens outward to the north into the walkway, from the left (east) to right (west). There are three metal hinges on the east side of the door.
Located to the west of the entrance door is a large solid clear glass window with white trim. The window spans from approximately one foot above the concrete floor of the walkway to the top of the entrance door, and the majority of the north wall of the motel room. From the walkway, the window is obstructed with a solid white covering from the interior of the room. Located in the wall to the west of the window, in close proximity to the concrete floor, is the back of a white wall mounted air conditioner unit for room 111.
Sgt. Walsh reported that at 23:20 hours Chief Spera arrived on scene, assumed command and was assigned operations. Officers on scene were advised to don their department issued tactical gear, which they did. Sgt. Walsh reported that a five-person team consisting of himself, Officer Miller and her canine Kendo, Officer DeLima, Officer Small and Chief Spera was assembled to make contact with the subject in Room 111.
Sgt. Walsh reported that the team approached the room from the west. Officer DeLima reported that when they approached the room, officers took the following positions: Chief Spera, Sgt. Walsh, and Patrol Officer Small on the left of the door, and he and Patrol Officer Miller on the right of the door. Officer Small reported that Officer DeLima and Ciccone were equipped with patrol rifles, and that he was equipped with a battering ram. Officer Small reported that he was assigned to go “hands on” with the subject if required. Sgt. Walsh also reported that a master key had been obtained from motel clerk Bobby Das.
All officers reported similar instances of the following events: Sgt. Walsh knocked on the door to room 111 to announce their presence. After several knocks, a male party began speaking to them from inside. Sgt. Walsh requested that the male exit the room to talk with them. The male asked Sgt. Walsh who they were, and Sgt. Walsh explained that they were from the Old Saybrook Police Department and needed to speak with him. The male stated that it would not be a good idea for him to come out. Sgt. Walsh again asked the male to exit the room and talk with them. The male subject then looked out the window to the west of the door, and Sgt. Walsh recognized him to be Richard Love. Sgt. Walsh continued to ask Love to exit the room until the male told him that the situation was becoming a standoff, and that he had a “.45” in the room. Sgt. Walsh recognized this to be a reference to Love having a firearm. Sgt. Walsh asked Love if he had just told him that he had a gun, and Love then placed a black semi-automatic weapon against the window with the muzzle pointed up. Some officers reported seeing the gun pointed in their general direction, but not directly at them. At that point, Officer Miller announced loudly that the subject had a gun and all officers quickly took positions of cover surrounding the room. At 23:31:16 hours, Chief Spera reported via radio that a gun was shown and requested the State Police Tactical Unit and mutual aid from the Clinton Police Department and the State Police Troop F.
Sgt. Walsh reported that Officer DeLima and Officer Small take posts on the left side of the doorway, and that Officer Miller and Ciccone take cover behind vehicles in the parking lot on the right side of the doorway. Sgt. Walsh stated that he took cover behind a red SUV in the parking lot directly across from the room door where he maintained operations. Sgt. Walsh stated that at one point he observed Love place a large item, possibly a mattress, against the window. This was confirmed through other officer reports and later from Richard Love while on the phone with police dispatch. Sgt. Walsh reported that as other officers arrived, Command assigned them various duties to include evacuating motel patrons, maintaining inner and outer perimeters, checking cars in the parking lot for security and maintaining constant visual and cover on Room 111.
Old Saybrook Police Dispatcher Robert Dahlstrom #54 reported that on Friday, October 9, 2015, he was home in Old Saybrook when he heard the incident start to evolve over the police radio. Dispatcher Dahlstrom reported that after hearing that the subject had displayed a gun, he made a decision to respond to police headquarters (HQ). Dispatcher Dahlstrom reported that he knew that Dispatcher Stankiewicz was working by himself on midnight shift. Dispatcher Dahlstrom reported that when he got to headquarters, he logged in on CAD/Dispatch Position 2.
The following events transpired by reports from Dispatcher Dahlstrom, Detective David Perrotti #16, officer reports, and review of the recorded digital communications. At 23:41 hours, Dispatcher Dahlstrom received a 911 call from Richard Love. Dispatcher Dahlstrom relayed the information to Command (Chief Spera #1). Richard Love requested to talk to the police. Command asked Dispatcher Dahlstrom to tell Richard
Love to exit the room. Dispatcher Dahlstrom did this several times with negative results. Command requested info from dispatch on what the suspect was saying. Richard Love provided his cell phone number to have someone on scene contact him directly. Command requested dispatch to repeat to Richard Love to exit the room with his hands up. Command stated to HQ, “That’s the only thing we are looking for him to do.” HQ replied that Love had been told several times to do so. Richard Love stated, “I would rather die than come out there.” “So either you can do it or I can do it.” He also stated that, “I’m not leaving the room, period.” And, “I don’t want to hurt anybody.” Love confirmed that his cell phone number is “501 something”, because he had just gotten it the day before and did not know it. Love was asked how many people were in the room with him, to which there was no response and the phone call was terminated at 23:45 hours by Love. Command was advised that Love stated that he would rather die than walk out of the room. Command made a decision to “Wait for the CSP TAC Team, secure a perimeter, and evacuate everyone they can.”
During this time, Dispatcher Stankiewicz made contact with off-duty Old Saybrook Police Department officers to respond to the scene. As they did, along with mutual aid, the building was evacuated except for an elderly patron in room 113. Room 113 is next to room 111, and the patron was sheltered in place until the CSP Tactical Unit could evacuate her. Dispatcher Stankiewicz made contact with the CSP message center for the Tactical Unit. Emergency medical services were staged.
At 23:48 hours, Dispatcher Dahlstrom made contact with Love via phone. Love stated that there was not anyone else in the room with him and that he was moving the mattress in the room. Love requested “someone professional” to talk to. Love made statements about going to jail and shooting holes in the walls of the room. Love said something to the effect of talking to someone who was not a doctor. At 23:51 hours Love said, “I’m about to end it, I don’t really want to, I need to think.” Love said, “I’d rather not” in reference to either hurting someone else, or himself, it is not clear which one. When asked to walk out of the room, Love said, “Not tonight, not right now.” Love then said, “In a couple minutes I will, I need a couple fucking minutes.” Dispatcher Dahlstrom asked Love if he was still there, Love replied, “Yup, I shouldn’t be though.” Dispatcher Dahlstrom asked Love if he was ok and he replied, “No, would you consider this ok? It’s around 11:45 and I’ve got cops at the door, I’m not ok.”
At 00:02 hours, Detective Perrotti arrived on the telephone. Throughout the next 54 minutes, Detective Perrotti and Dispatcher Dahlstrom remained on the telephone with Richard Love attempting to get him to leave the gun in the room and to exit the room with his hands up to be taken into custody peacefully so that they could get him help. Love made the comment, “I’ll let one of your cops shoot me instead of myself.”
Throughout the telephone call, Love made comments about why they were looking for his cousin Chris Speilman, and that he knew why. He provided Speilman’s cell phone number. Love also stated that he had been awake for days abusing crack and heroin. At different points of the call, Love became increasingly agitated and paranoid. He kept telling Detective Perrotti to stop the cops from, “Pumping shit into the room” and to “Turn that shit off.” At one point Detective Perrotti asked Love to take a deep breath in reference to calming down. Love replied that he thought he wants him to breath in the “Spray.” Love stated that, “If I start to feel dizzy I’m going to shoot myself in the head.” Love also said he thought that he could hear the Police outside telling him “Fuck You.” Love stated that, “I’m getting to the point where I’m probably going to shoot myself.” Det. Perrotti then urged Love to exit room. Love then said, “Nothing ever changes, it’s the same end right?” “I told you how this was going down.”
While on the phone, a gunshot was heard. Love confirmed it was a gunshot. Love was agitated and continued to be paranoid about something being sprayed in the room. He said, “Turn that shit off,” and, “I’m going to put a bullet through the wall.” Love spoke of being “Put in a corner.” Love said, “Something’s gonna fucking happen.” Love said, “Let me tap out on my own, that what’s eventually what’s going to happen.” Love confirmed that he was in the bathroom.
Love asked Detective Perrotti to “Turn on the stop watch”, and that, “In five minutes I’ll walk out.” “I’ll smoke a cigarette and I’ll come out.” Detective Perrotti explained to Love how he was to come out, and that he would relay the information to the officers on scene when he was ready to leave the room. Love stated, “I’m still wicked fucking tweaked out.” and, “I am fucking nervous bro.” Love said, “I’ll come out, fuck it.” Perrotti urged him to exit the room slowly without the gun. Love said, “This is going to hurt, fuck!” Then Love said, “I think I’m going to have to have kill myself, see ya.” Love said, “You guys are going to bust in here eventually.” “You’re rushing me the fuck out.” Love stated, “Fuck I don’t want to die.” At 00:56 hours, a gunshot was heard. That information was relayed to Command.
Dispatcher Dahlstrom reported to Command of hearing possible “Agonal Respirations” from Love. He reported, “That’s definitely what we’re hearing, no verbal contact.” Dispatcher Dahlstrom reported to Command, “Still hear the party in the room.” Command replied, “The agonal respirations or you hear a voice.” Dahlstrom replied, “No, it’s agonal respirations.” Dispatcher Dahlstrom advised Command that Love can be heard coughing a couple of times, “not 100 percent sure” could be possibly moving a little bit, no verbal communication.
Detective Perrotti reported that he thought he heard a weapon drop to the floor after the gunshot, followed by what sounded like agonal respirations. Det. Perrotti tried to get Love to go to the door, and told him to keep breathing and to clear his throat.
After the gunshot, Det. Perotti reported that he could hear moaning and breathing by Love. Love coughed and cleared his throat. He can be heard trying to talk. Love can be heard moving around the room. Love replied “Yeah” to his name two times. Love acknowledged he was still in the bathroom by replying, “Uh huh.” Love acknowledged he was still “with” Perrotti by replying, “Yeah.” Love made a louder noise. He continued to make noises. Love made a louder response that sounded like, “No” in response to Perrotti saying he would get him help. Perrotti asked Love to “make a noise for us”, Love responded with a verbal noise. It sounded like Love was moving around the room. Love makes a louder response/noise. Love continued to cough/moan.
On Saturday, October 10, 2015, shortly after 00:00 hours, members of the Connecticut State Police Tactical Unit responded to a meeting near the Econo Lodge where members were briefed, donned tactical equipment and were given assignments.
At 00:21:15 hours, Command reports that the CSP Tactical Unit was assembling. At 01:06:53 hours, Command reports that the CSP Tactical Unit arrived on scene at the inner perimeter.
Sgt. Joseph Mercer #176 was the CSP Emergency Services Unit (ESU) Operations Sergeant. Sgt. Mercer reported that upon arrival, he met with Chief Spera. Chief Spera advised Sgt. Mercer that there was a male subject in Room 111 who had displayed a handgun to investigators who went to Room 111 regarding a string of bank robberies. Chief Spera advised Sgt. Mercer that the subject in the room had stated that he “would rather die than leave the room” and that the male subject was speaking with dispatch via cell phone. Sgt. Mercer was provided with information about the points of egress from the room as well as perimeter personnel and assignments. Sgt. Mercer was also advised about the elderly patron in room 113 who needed to be evacuated.
Sgt. Mercer assigned CSP personnel to the following perimeter posts, relieving Old Saybrook Police Officers as they arrived. Sgt. M. Alogna was assigned “A” side perimeter that covered the entry to the structure. Sgt. R. Girard was assigned inner perimeter post at the “B” side of the room at the end of the hall, and Trooper First Class D. Lavoie was assigned inner perimeter post at the “D” side of the room at the end of the hall. It was determined that the immediate priority was to evacuate the elderly patron from room 113.
As a plan was being formulated to evacuate the patron, Chief Spera advised Sgt. Mercer that dispatch heard a shot fired over the cellular phone, which was confirmed by the perimeter units. The CSP team was then deployed and evacuated the patron of room 113 utilizing a master key provided by the Old Saybrook Police Department.
Chief Spera advised Sgt. Mercer that dispatch had an “open line” and the subject could be heard “agonal” breathing and making other sounds indicative of having shot himself and being injured. Sgt. Mercer reported he and Lt. Bednarz of CSP were advised by Chief Spera that there might be a second subject in the room or in close proximity. Sgt. Mercer was provided with information that the subject was making sounds consistent with grave injury and medical distress.
Sgt. Mercer reported that CSP command developed a plan to utilize a small tactical robot equipped with a camera to enter the room and determine the subject’s location and status, as his condition was worsening per dispatch evaluation of the open line noises. Sgt. Luke #109, was briefed and organized his State Police Tactical Unit (SPTU) team in the following stack order for entry into the room:
Trooper First Class (TFC) R. Oenning
TFC D. McCarthy
TFC C. Konow
TFC K. Cook
Sgt. D. Luke
TFC C. Gomez
Sgt. P. Cauley
TFC J. Poach
TFC M. Avery
The following SPTU personnel were assigned inner perimeter posts:
Sgt. M. Alogna (“A” side perimeter)
TFC D. Lavoie (“D” side perimeter)
Sgt. R. Girard (“B” side perimeter)
TFC B. Faughnan (“D” side perimeter)
TFC S. Chapman (perimeter)
From reports from Sgt. Mercer, statements obtained from all entry personnel, review of the recorded digital audio communications, and review of the recorded video surveillance footage, the following occurred next:
The entry team stacked on the wall on the left side of the doorway to room 111.
Prior to entering room 111, Sgt. Luke provided TFC McCarthy, a 21-year CSP veteran and 14-year Tactical Unit Assistant Team Leader, with a master swipe key card that had been obtained from motel management. TFC McCarthy utilized the key card to open the door to room 111 to allow the robot to enter. A robot was then deployed by TFC Avery.
TFC Avery operated the robot to enter the room from a safe distance behind the entry element. The robot revealed that there was no one in the first room. TFC Avery observed that the room was in disarray with a mattress off the bed. The robot revealed that there was a closed door toward the end of the room. TFC Avery communicated to team members that no one was in the main room and that there was a closed door. At this time, the entry team made entry into the first room, which TFC Avery observed from the hallway outside of the room, and from the robot, which was still in the room.
The main room contained two beds and other pieces of furniture. Located to the rear of the main room was a solid white wood door, which opened inward into the bathroom from the left to right.
Upon entry, Sgt. Luke observed the mattresses in the room stacked up against the front entrance wall, directly in front of the window. He did not hear any noise or observe any movement coming from within the main room or behind the closed door. SPTU members cleared the room for safety. With the information received through dispatch regarding the potential life-threatening condition of either the subject or someone else, and real time information from the open dispatch line, the team approached the closed door using a ballistic shield held by TFC Oenning. TFC McCarthy did not hear any noise coming from the bathroom. He checked the bathroom door and it was locked. TFC McCarthy then called for a door breacher tool, held by TFC Poach. TFC Poach waited for TFC McCarthy’s command to breach the bathroom door. TFC Poach breached the bathroom door, striking it twice with a battering ram.
The door swung into the closed room from right to left. TFC Oenning observed the door stop to the left, which did not completely open. TFC Oenning stepped into the room first with his ballistic shield in front of him. He observed that the room was a bathroom, and that the lights were on.
The bathroom was rectangular with the long end-running parallel with the door. There was no other point of egress and no windows. The floor was covered in a light tan tile. There was a vanity located directly across from the door on the south wall. A light-color bathtub spanned the east wall. It should be noted that as the bathroom door opened, it impacted the west edge of the tub, only allowing the door to open about 90 degrees. The location of the vanity and bathroom door also impeded access to the tub from an open position.
Upon entrance to the bathroom, TFC Oenning looked from right to left without seeing the suspect. TFC Oenning stepped further into the room and attempted to clear behind the door to the left, but he was obstructed by the shield making contact with the door and vanity directly in front of him. As the bathroom was a confined space, he was unable to get the shield around the door and he could not see the subject. He observed what appeared to be a shower wall from the area behind the door, which did not completely obstruct his view of the shower area. TFC Oenning reported that he had his pistol drawn.
TFC McCarthy was directly behind TFC Oenning. TFC McCarthy looked through the crack on the hinge side of the bathroom door (east), while entering, and saw barricaded subject Richard Love standing with a black handgun raised to chest level and ready to shoot. Love was pointing a black handgun directly at TFC Oenning. TFC Oenning was located directly in front of TFC McCarthy inside the bathroom.
TFC McCarthy immediately gave numerous verbal commands telling Love to drop the gun. Other team members gave verbal commands to Love to drop the gun as well. TFC McCarthy observed that Love was not wearing a shirt, and was wearing shorts. He observed that Love was covered in blood all over his face and down the front side of his body. He did not observe any physical injury, only the blood. TFC McCarthy did not hear Love say anything. From his position, TFC McCarthy observed that Love was standing in the corner of the bathtub, and TFC McCarthy placed his CSP issued M4 Colt Commando Rifle in the crack of the bathroom door (on the hinge side) and ordered Love numerous times to drop the weapon. TFC McCarthy’s only concealment was the hollow core bathroom door. Love then turned the gun toward TFC McCarthy. TFC McCarthy stated that Love was approximately 3 feet away from TFC McCarthy. TFC McCarthy indicated that he was immediately concerned for his safety and the safety of his team members. TFC McCarthy indicated that through his training and experience, he recognized this as a deadly force situation. At that time, TFC McCarthy indicated that he fired two rounds at the barricaded subject. The barricaded subject leaned back to the corner of the tub and TFC McCarthy made entry into the bathroom to supply cover for TFC Oenning.
TFC Konow, an 8-year CSP and 4-year Tactical Unit veteran, immediately took TFC McCarthy’s position at the door and looked through the crack on the hinge side of the door. TFC Konow indicated that he observed what appeared to be a white male (Love), with no shirt, and wearing shorts standing in the tub covered in blood. TFC Konow’s only concealment was the hollow core bathroom door. TFC Konow observed that Love was covered in blood on his face and down the front side of his body. TFC Konow observed Love slouching while still standing on his feet, leaning into the corner of the shower with his back to the shower and his front side facing toward TFC McCarthy and TFC Oenning, who were standing inside of the bathroom. TFC McCarthy observed that at that time, the gun was still in Love’s hand and pointed at TFC Oenning and himself. TFC McCarthy then closed the bathroom door so he could see the Love at which time Love had gone down to a sitting position in the tub. Love still had the gun in his hands positioned near his lap, with the muzzle of the gun pointed in the direction of TFC Oenning and TFC McCarthy. At that time, TFC McCarthy heard Sgt. Luke yell that the subject still had the gun. Love was advised again to drop the gun but he did not. TFC Konow also observed Love holding a black handgun with the muzzle pointed directly at TFC McCarthy and TFC Oenning. TFC Konow indicated that he did not have time to give verbal commands as his teammates’ lives were in immediate jeopardy. TFC Konow indicated that he heard a team member say, “He still has a gun.”
At this time TFC Konow fired two rounds from his department issued Colt M4 Commando Rifle at Love from the doorjamb to stop the immediate threat. At the same time, TFC McCarthy then fired one round at Love from within the bathroom, striking him in the head to stop the immediate threat. The gun that Love held then dropped between his legs. TFC McCarthy did not hear Love say anything during the entire incident.
TFC Oenning observed at that point that Love was slouched down in the bathtub facing forward, toward TFC McCarthy and himself. TFC Oenning observed a black handgun between the subject’s legs. He reached down, picked up the handgun, and placed it on the vanity.
Sgt. Luke then notified the Command Post that shots were fired and that the subject was down. He immediately called for Team Paramedic Robert Lanouette #301 to provide medical assistance. TFC Lanouette entered the room and presumed the Love deceased. The room was then cleared of all team members and secured.
The EconoLodge Motel was equipped with a video surveillance system with cameras at various locations. The video footage was digitally recorded to a hard drive storage device located in a room behind the front lobby desk. On October 10, 2015, a Forensic Science Examiner from the State of Connecticut Multi-Media and Image Enhancement Unit, responded to the EconoLodge and downloaded video from the system.
The video system primarily worked on motion sensing to activate the camera and recording device. Absence or lapse in movement in a particular camera field of view would shut the camera off.
The video cameras captured video footage from the following areas:
Camera #2 – The main front lobby entrance and motel check in desk.
Camera #4 – The pool on the north side of the building.
Camera #5 – The parking lot and walkway on the south side of the building.
Camera#6 – The main lobby sitting area.
Camera#7 – The pool deck on the north side of the building.
Camera#8 – The third floor hall and elevator.
Camera#9 – The east side of the building.
Camera#10 – The east side of the building. The camera is out of focus.
Camera#11 – The second floor, south wing.
Camera#12 – The second floor hall and elevator.
Camera#13 – The first floor north side walkway.
Detectives subsequently viewed the recorded footage after the incident. Officers on scene did not have access to the footage.
The recorded video footage showed that on October 9, 2015, at 22:20 hours, a male, later identified as Christopher A. Spielman (D.O.B. 10/12/89), is observed via video surveillance camera #2, walking into the front lobby. EconoLodge night manager Sudeep “Bobby” Das is observed seated behind the main counter. Speilman is observed approaching the main counter where Das processed his request to rent a room. Spielman is viewed retrieving what appears to be identification from his wallet, and utilizing a black colored cell phone to text. Spielman paid for the room with cash. Das put the money in the motel cash drawer. Spielman is observed signing motel paperwork, and is provided a receipt and room key. Das is observed motioning with his hands to Spielman, providing him with directions to the room he rented. Spielman then exited the lobby through the main door.
On October 9, 2015, at 22:35:24 hours, a male, later identified as Richard Love, is observed via video surveillance camera #13, walking from the north side parking lot to the north side walkway. His vehicle was subsequently towed from that lot. Love is observed entering the north side walkway via the stairs in the middle of the walkway. Love is observed wearing long pants, and is wearing a backpack strapped over his shoulders on his back. He is also carrying a pizza box, which was later discovered in the refrigerator of room 111. At 22:35:24, Love opened the door of room 111 and affixed something to the outside door handle. An EconoLodge “do not disturb” sign was later documented on the door handle. No one else is observed entering or leaving the room via the surveillance cameras prior to police arrival.
Through the review of the video surveillance, on October 9, 2015, at 23:34:32 hours, the first arrival of Old Saybrook Police officers can be observed on the west end of the walkway entrance donning tactical gear. Five Old Saybrook officers surround the entrance of room 111, from the east and west. Observed is an officer with a K-9, an officer with an entry battering ram, and an officer with a long rifle among others. An officer can be observed taking a room key from motel manager Das at 23:36:31, and attempting to utilize the room key without success. The officer gives the key back to Das at 23:37:15. At 23:37:50, surrounding officers are observed drawing service weapons toward the room. Officers are observed taking tactical positions around the walkway and parking lot. Officers then initiate removing motel patrons from their rooms, while providing cover on room 111.
Through the review of the video surveillance, on October 10, 2015, at 01:17:23 hours, members of the CSP ESU Tactical Unit can be observed entering the east and west ends of the walkway. Members of the CSP ESU Tactical Unit are observed entering from the west end of the walkway and opening the door to room 113. The video skips the actual evacuating of the motel patron from room 113.
On October 10, 2015, at 01:24:13 members of the CSP ESU Tactical Unit can be observed in a fixed position on the west end of the walkway. At 01:24:41, a team of the CSP ESU Tactical Unit is observed entering the east end of the walkway. Six team members proceed west down the walkway and stage on the north wall, east side of the entrance to Room 111. One team member remained on the east end of the walkway. At 01:28:10 another two CSP ESU Tactical Unit members are observed entering the east end of the walkway, proceeding west down the walkway and staging with the six team members already in the walkway outside of room 111. At 01:29:22, a Tactical Unit member is observed utilizing a room key to open the door of room 111. The door remained open. At 01:29:44, the Tactical Unit member positioned at the east end of the walkway utilized a handheld remote control to navigate a small robotic device on wheels, west down the walkway to room 111. At 01:30:15, ESU Tactical Unit members are observed entering room 111. At 01:31:03, an ESU Tactical Unit member enters room 111 with a door-breaching tool. The video lapses until 01:31:24, where the only CSP ESU Tactical Unit member remaining in the walkway is the robot operator. At 01:32:14, a CSP ESU Tactical Unit member is observed entering the east end of the walkway carrying medical response supplies. He quickly proceeded west down the walkway and entered room 111. ESU Tactical Unit members then exit room 111, and more ESU Tactical Unit members enter the west end of the walkway. At 01:37:05, the majority of ESU Tactical Unit members exit the walkway.
Through the review of Old Saybrook Police Department audio recording, the CSP Tactical Unit can be heard breaching the bathroom door. Over the course of the 59 seconds the following can be heard; a CSP Tactical Unit member issued commands to “Drop it!”, a CSP Tactical Unit member issued two commands to, “Drop the gun!, Drop the gun!” Gunshots are heard. A CSP Tactical Unit member said, “Got him, got him.” Another replied, “Got him?” Member says, “Yup.” A CSP Tactical Unit member issued a command to “Leave it on the ground!” Gunshots were heard. CSP Tactical Unit members were talking, unclear. A CSP Tactical Unit member said, “Going hands on.” A CSP Tactical Unit member issued a command to “Leave it on the ground!” Love is heard moaning/gurgling. Gunshots were heard. A CSP Tactical Unit member said, “He’s down, he’s down.” More CSP Tactical Unit members talking, unclear. A CSP Tactical Unit member then said, “Got the gun.”
The Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime (EDMC) Squad Detectives were asked to assist in this investigation and processed the scene by capturing video, digital images/photographs, making a sketch map, and collecting numerous items of evidence, among other things, including interviewing witnesses. The following observations by EDMC were detailed:
At the time of the reported incident, the weather was clear and dark, and the outdoor temperature was approximately 46 degrees.
The north side of the bathroom door (facing main room) had two defects above and below the handle. There is fresh paint damage and black paint transfer in the defect areas that are consistent with being struck by a door-breaching tool.
The east side doorjamb had two marks, and one defect located on and in the white wood trim. Mark #1 was located on the white wood trim in the door jam, at a height of 4’8”. Mark #1 was a small black colored fouling with a small ¼ circular mark consistent with being close range gunshot residue. Defect #1 was located on and in the white wood trim in the door jam, at a height of 3’7”. Defect #1 had a small black colored fouling consistent with being close range gunshot residue. Defect #1 traversed into the interior white wood trim in a “half-moon” pattern on a slightly downward trajectory into the interior of the bathroom. Mark #2 was located on the white wood trim in the door jam, at a height of 2’11”. Mark #2 was a small black colored fouling consistent with being close range gunshot residue.
Located on top of the vanity on the northwest corner, was a black colored Beretta Px4 Storm .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol with a blood like substance (BLS). Located in the chamber of the pistol was one live “Winchester .45 Auto” ball ammo round, and nine live “Winchester .45 Auto” ball ammo rounds loaded in a magazine in the pistol. Located next to the pistol on the vanity was a black colored pistol magazine containing ten live “Winchester .45 Auto” ball ammo rounds. Also on the vanity were drug paraphernalia, a hypodermic needle and a glass tube with burnt tip. Located on the vanity to the west of the sink was a black Microsoft cellular phone, facedown and later determined to belong to Richard Love.
Located on the bathroom floor, west of the entrance door along the north wall, was one spent “FC” .223 caliber shell casing, and two black pistol magazines containing ten live “Winchester .45 Auto” ball ammo rounds each. Located on the bathroom floor was one spent “FC08” .223 caliber shell casing. In close proximity was one live “Winchester .45 Auto” ball ammo round. Located under the northwest corner of the sink, was one spent “Spear” .223 caliber shell casing. Also in this area was a black pistol magazine containing five live “Winchester .45 Auto” ball ammo rounds. Located on the floor to the east, underneath the sink, was one live “Winchester .45 Auto” ball ammo round.
Located on the bathroom floor at the west edge of the bathtub was an “Indian Motor Cycles” T-shirt with a blood like substance (BLS). Also in this location was a wet, white colored shower curtain with BLS. On top of the shower curtain was a wet, white towel with BLS. Located on the top west edge of the bathtub was a wet, white towel with a large amount of BLS.
The deceased, Richard P. Love, was seated in an upright position on the northeast side of the tub floor. His head was facing with his chin resting on his chest. There was a large amount of dried BLS on his upper torso and stomach. The deceased incurred severe trauma to various parts of his face and head. After the deceased was removed, one spent “Winchester .45 Auto” casing was located on the north side of the bathtub floor near the drain. Also located upon removal, were two spent “FC REM” .223 caliber shell casings on the bathtub floor toward the middle of the bathtub, and a small hand towel with a large amount of BLS.
Located in the east wall of the bathtub were two projectile defects. One defect was located near the center of the east wall. Another defect was located slightly to the north of first defect in the east wall. A brass colored bullet projectile was located and recovered lodged in the east wall behind the bathtub wall in an upward trajectory toward the ceiling.
There were multiple confluences of BLS and multi-directional patterns of blood spatter in and around the bathtub and bathroom. The quantity of linens with BLS, and smears of BLS, indicate that the deceased was active within the bathroom at some point after bleeding initiated, prior to police physical contact. There were towels on the floor that appeared to have been laid down to cover the bottom of the bathroom door. This could be an indication that Richard Love had placed the towels there out of paranoia of the room being “spray” being “pumped” into the room.
Adjacent to room 111 to the east is room 109. A copper color projectile was located in the south wall of the bathroom of room 109. A trajectory analysis was completed to depict the path of travel of the projectile. The projectile was determined to originate from the bathroom doorjamb of room 111. No other trajectory analysis could be completed.
Also located in the room was various drug paraphernalia, narcotics to include suspected heroin and crack cocaine, $2,772.64 in cash, a Connecticut operator’s license of Richard P. Love, and a pistol magazine and ammunition for a 9mm handgun.
Located on the floor, in close proximity to the east side bathroom door jam, is a live “Winchester .45 Auto” round. Also located in close proximity at the foot of the south bed, is a spent “Winchester .45 Auto” bullet casing.
Subsequently, EconoLodge owner Dipak Patel stated that they had utilized the services of 24 Trauma LLC based in Stoughton, Massachusetts, to clean the scene in room 111. It was determined that during the cleanup, the bathtub was disposed of. On October 23, 2015, it was determined through the removed bathtub that there was a basement to the building. A metal projectile was recovered from the basement floor, along with a fresh defect in the floor. A hole was documented in the subfloor of room #111 near the foot of the south bed. This accounts for the .45 caliber shell casing originally found in the motel room, and verifies Love’s account of firing the gun within the room. Also recovered in the basement beneath the hole in the floor for the bathroom plumbing was a spent .223 caliber projectile.
On Saturday, October 10, 2015 at approximately 11:39 hours, Vincent Pontarelli (D.O.B. 01/10/85) of 169 Soap Street, Killingly, had contacted Connecticut State Police Troop D in Danielson to report that he was missing a handgun from his residence.
On October 10, 2015, at approximately 12:45 hours detectives met with Vincent Pontarelli and his fiancé, Amy Rochester at their residence in Killingly. Pontarelli stated he had a Connecticut firearms permit and owned two handguns he kept locked up inside his residence. Vincent stated that he owned a Beretta PX4STORM .45 caliber handgun serial # PK35087 and a Beretta BU9 Nano 9mm handgun serial# NU094462. Vincent stated he kept the 9mm handgun locked in a desk drawer in his office in his residence and kept the .45 caliber handgun locked in a black Sentry lock box he kept under his bed. Pontarelli stated that on the morning of October 10, 2015, his fiancée Amy was looking at the news on her cell phone and saw a news report about a Richard Love involved in a shooting in Old Saybrook. Pontarelli stated that he and Amy had grown up with a Richard Love of Groton, who had a criminal past including arrests for robberies. Pontarelli stated he immediately went to check and see if his handguns were still inside his house and it was at that time he noticed that the lock box containing the .45 caliber Beretta PX4STORM was missing. Pontarelli stated that the last time he saw the lock box was a couple of days ago. Pontarelli and Rochester stated that Richard Love was familiar with their house and had been there about two weeks ago. There was a window of time in the evening of October 9, 2015, when Pontarelli and Rochester were not home. Detectives processed the house with negative results.
The phone records received via search warrant for Richard Love’s cellular phone positioned him in proximity to the scene of the stolen firearm in Killingly. On October 9, 2015, Richard Love’s cell phone GPS coordinates traveled from Waterford at 17:12:56 hours, up the Interstate 95/Interstate 395 corridor northbound to Killingly at 19:38 hours. The GPS locations are accurate from 400 to 5,000 meters. The GPS coordinates then traced back down the corridor to Old Lyme and Old Saybrook where it remained stationary until communication with Old Saybrook Police Department at the EconoLodge.
On October 10, 2015, EDMCS detectives conducted firearm surveys/inspections for all law enforcement personnel at the scene during the shooting earlier that day. The firearm surveys revealed that TFC McCarthy and TFC Konow were the only two law enforcement officers who discharged their duty weapons. Three cartridge/rounds were fired from TFC McCarthy’s department-issued Colt M4 Commando .223 caliber rifle, loaded with “Federal Premium 223 REM Spear Gold Dot. Two cartridge/rounds were fired from TFC Konow’s department-issued Colt M4 Commando .223 caliber rifle, loaded with “Federal Premium 223 REM Spear Gold Dot” rounds. No other personnel discharged their duty weapons at the suspect.
TFC McCarthy has been employed by the State Police since March 6, 1992, and has been a member of the Tactical Unit since March of 1996 and was qualified through ESU with his duty rifle. TFC Konow has been has been employed by the State Police since January 1, 2007, and has been a member of the Tactical Unit since August of 2011 and was qualified through ESU with his duty rifle. CSP ESU Sgt. Kenneth Albert #114 confirmed that both Troopers were qualified with their department-issued rifles at the time of the shooting.
Firearm evidence consisting of casings, projectiles and firearms, were submitted to the DESPP Forensic Science Laboratory in Meriden for examination. TFC McCarthy’s duty weapon (Submission #004-Item #18 "Colt M4 Rifle, SN-A0227006” with magazines and Ammunition), TFC Konow’s (Submission #002-Item #11 "Colt M4 Rifle, SN-A0227020” with magazines and Ammunition), the handgun used by Love (Submission #005-Item #30 "Beretta .45 caliber pistol with/BLS, SN-PK35087” with magazines and ammunition, along with the spent shell casings and projectiles recovered from the scene, and projectiles removed from Richard Love’s body, were examined. The laboratory/firearms report noted, among other things, that all submitted weapons were in satisfactory operating condition and tests were fired.
The Forensic Science Laboratory report noted the following. Items #34 (.45 casing at the foot of the bed), #58 (.45 casing in the bathtub), #61 (bullet projectile removed from the bathroom tub wall) and #85 (metal projectile recovered from the basement floor) were fired by Item #30 (stolen Beretta in Love's possession).
Items #41 (.223 casing on bathroom floor), #47 (.223 casing on the bathroom floor) and #86 (projectile recovered from the basement floor) were fired from Item # 11 (Konow's Rifle SN-A0227020).
Items #46 (.223 casing from bathroom floor), #59 (.223 casing found in bathtub), #60 (.223 casing found in bathtub), #63 (projectile recovered in the wall of room 109) and #65 (two projectiles recovered from the deceased) were fired from Item #18 (McCarthy's Rifle SN-A0227006).
Item #84 (suspected .45 round recovered from the basement) could not be identified and is described as a "large caliber lead core and is of no comparison value."
(Refer to the Firearms Report dated December 7, 2015, for further details)
The DNA Unit from the Forensic Science Laboratory report noted that Richard Love was consistent with being the source of the DNA profiles from the surface area of the firearm magazine (item #43) and ten .45 caliber rounds located in it. Item #43 had been located in (item #30), the Beretta .45 caliber pistol while on scene. The report also concluded that Richard Love was consistent with being the source of the DNA profile from the surface area of the recovered brass color bullet projectile item #61(bullet projectile removed from the bathroom tub wall).
On October 10, 2015, EDMC detectives conducted body surveys for all involved CSP ESU members. No Troopers sustained any physical injuries related to this incident.
It was determined that no law enforcement personnel utilized any type of gas on Richard Love, or caused any type of gas to be utilized in room 111 at the EconoLodge on October 09, 2015 – October 10, 2015.
On Sunday, October 11, 2015, a post mortem examination of Richard P. Love (D.O.B. 11/12/1983) was conducted by Dr. James R. Gill, M.D. at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington. The initial results of the post mortem exam certified the cause of death as, "Gunshot Injuries to the Head and Neck", and the manner of death as "Homicide." (ME #15-16220) During the post mortem exam, two projectile/bullets were removed from Love’s body.
The post mortem exam report also noted that there were five gunshot wounds of the body; “One (1) penetrates the head, three (3) perforate the head, and one (1) penetrates the left shoulder.” Two bullets were recovered from the deceased. One bullet was recovered from the left shoulder, and another was recovered from the base of the neck. The toxicology report of Love noted among other things, that positive findings in blood sources of the decedent, consisted of “#6 Monoacetylmorphine –Free- (Heroin Metabolite),” "Benzoylecgonine-(Product of Cocaine)," "Morphine-Free-(Codeine Metabolite)," "Cocaine -(DEA Schedule II Narcotic)," “Codeine-Free- (DEA Schedule III Narcotic),” “Diltiazem - (Cocaine Cutting Agent),” “Hydroxyzine - (Mixed With Cocaine),” “Levamisole- (Veterinary Worming Agent, Found to be Mixed with Cocaine),” Dr. Gill also noted acute intoxication with cocaine with heroin in his final diagnosis.
On Sunday, October 11, 2015, Richard P. Love (D.O.B. 11/12/1983) was positively identified from his post mortem fingerprints, by a technician of the DESPP SPBI (State Police Bureau of Identification) in Middletown.
On October 16, 2015, a vehicle survey was conducted on Connecticut Registration 6AN-KS2, a blue 2003 Acura MDX sport utility vehicle (SUV), VIN#2HNYD18663H553915, by EDMCS Detectives, upon obtaining a search and seizure warrant. This vehicle was located in the parking lot of the EconoLodge at 1750 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, and its keys were located on the floor in the bathroom of room 111 at the EconoLodge, where Love was located. The vehicle survey was conducted at the Troop E Barracks in Montville. The vehicle and its contents were documented by digital images/photographs, and numerous items of evidence were seized from the vehicle.
Evidence items that detective seized from this vehicle include, among other things, one black “Sentry” safe, two small white wax packets with white residue labeled “The Truth”, and one Lowes dated receipt dated October 9, 2015, at 19:57:27 hours, Lowes Killingly Common Drive, Store#2396 Dayville, CT Terminal 5. The items purchased on the receipt were a Kobalt brand 2.5-pound hammer, and a Bostich brand 2.5-inch floor chisel. These items were also located within the vehicle upon searching it.
The safe matched the one stolen from the Pontarelli residence in Killingly that the stolen firearms were kept in. The suspected heroin packets match ones recovered in the motel room at the EconoLodge. The receipt was for the purchase of tools suspected of being utilized by Richard Love to break into the safe to obtain the firearm. The safe had damage indicative of being forcefully opened with the tools. Surveillance footage could not be obtained from the Lowes store.
Additionally, a number of statements were taken from witnesses, some of whom interacted with Richard Love in the days leading up to this incident.
In particular, Christopher Spielman was interviewed on October 10, 2015. Spielman was interviewed at the Troop F Barracks in Westbrook. Spielman provided two signed statements of his involvement in the events on the evening of Friday, October 9, 2015 and early morning of Saturday, October 10, 2015 at the EconoLodge in Old Saybrook. The interview was audio recorded as well.
Spielman initially provided a signed, sworn to, statement, in which he stated among other things, “On Friday, October 9th, 2015 at about 5:00 pm I was with John O’Donnell whom I have worked as a roofer for the past four (4) months. We had just gotten paid in cash from our boss. John asked me if I would rent a room for him at the Econo Lodge on RT 1 in Old Saybrook. John called me later that evening around 8 or 9 pm and I met him at the Econo Lodge. John had given me $100.00 dollars in cash, all $20.00 dollar bills. He can’t rent the room because he doesn’t have an I.D. I drive a blue colored 2005 Kia Spectra registered to me. John is friends with my cousin Richard Love. I rented the room, went outside and gave the room key to John, who was still alone. I left the parking lot and went to the Ivorytown Inn where I had rented a room earlier in the evening. Richard has been robbing banks in the area. I know from the news when they posted his picture. I haven’t seen or heard from Richard in over two weeks.”
Questioned about the truthfulness of his first statement, Spielman provided another signed, sworn to, statement, in which he stated among other things: “I am making this statement in addition to my other (previous) statement to Detective Langevin and Detective Utermarck of my own free will. I am not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Last night on 10/09/15 at about 9:00 pm I got a call on my cell phone from my cousin Richard Love. I was at the Big Y in Old Saybrook, CT shopping for groceries. I told Richard where to meet me in the Big Y parking lot. He had asked me to rent him a room for the night. Richard arrived at the Big Y parking lot around 9:00 pm. I got in his car and he drove to the Econo Lodge in Old Saybrook, CT. I rented a room for Richard using $100.00 dollars in $20.00 dollar bills. I went back outside and gave the room key to Richard. I didn’t go into the room with Richard, and he was alone. On the ride to the Econo Lodge, Richard was talking irrational saying that he wasn’t going to sit in jail for the rest of his life, and that if it came down to it, he would get the cops to shoot him. I think Richard was wearing tan pants and maybe a black shirt. I didn’t notice any bags or anything else. On I think Thursday of this week Richard bought me a blue Kia for $2,100 on RT 85 in Waterford, CT between the speed bowl and Lombardi’s gravel. It might be a white house, I’m not sure. The next day, yesterday, Friday October 9th, 2015 at about 5:00 pm I was with Richard when he bought a blue colored Acura SUV from the same place. He was driving that car later in the evening when he met me at the Big Y. He paid $2,900 for the car. Richard had told me he needed a good night sleep, and that he would turn himself in to the Police in the morning. Richard had a drug addiction to heroin.”
Spielman stated that he himself had a heroin addiction he did not have under control. Spielman stated he was not initially truthful because he did not want to be implicated in any involvement with the bank robberies Richard Love committed.
Richard P. Love (D.O.B. 11/12/1983) was a convicted felon with eight arrests between March 11, 2003, and January 5, 2009. Prior to this incident, Love’s most recent conviction was on December 10, 2009, for Robbery in the 2nd Degree. Love received a sentence of 10 years, execution suspended after 5 years, 3 years of probation. That probation was violated in 2014. In addition, Love had two other convictions for Robbery in the 2nd Degree, one conviction for Burglary in the 3rd Degree, and convictions for Larceny in the 4th Degree, Assault in the 3rd Degree, and Breach of Peace in the 2nd Degree.
The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether the use of deadly force by TFC McCarthy and TFC Konow was appropriate under Connecticut General Statutes §53a-22.
Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-22(c) provides:
“A Peace Officer. . . is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person for the purposes specified in Subsection (b) of this section only when he reasonably believes such to be necessary to: (1) Defend himself 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 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 has given warning of his intent to use deadly physical force.”
Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-22(b) provides:
“Except as provided by subsection (a) of this Section, a Peace Officer. . . is justified in using physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he reasonable believes such to be necessary to: (1) Effect an arrest or prevent the escape from custody of a person whom he reasonably believes to have committed an offense, unless he knows that the arrest or custody is unauthorized; or (2) Defend himself or a third person from the use or imminent use of physical force while attempting to effect an arrest or while preventing or attempting to prevent an escape.”
Consequently, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-22(c)(1), a police officer may use deadly force when he reasonably believes the use of such force is necessary to defend himself or another from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force. The test is both subjective and objective. First, the officer must believe that the use of deadly force is necessary to defend himself or another from the imminent use of deadly physical force. Second, that belief must be objectively reasonable. See State v. Prioleau, 235 Conn. 274(1995).
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 such to be the case, and whether such belief was objectively reasonable, based on the facts and circumstances known to the 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 explained this test in detail in a civil rights action.
“The ‘reasonableness’ of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene rather than the 20/20 vision of hindsight. . . The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance to 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.” Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 109 S. CT 1865, 104 L. Ed. 2d 443 (1989)
Based upon a review of all of the information available, including all of the police reports, witness statements, video evidence, audio evidence, Medical Examiner’s post mortem report, and reports from the DESPP Forensic Science Laboratory, and review of the physical evidence recovered from the scene, as well as a review of the scene itself, it is found that TFC McCarthy and TFC Konow responded, as part of the Connecticut State Police Emergency Services Tactical Unit to EconoLodge Inn and Suites, located at 1750 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, to assist the Old Saybrook Police Department with an active barricaded subject in one of the motel’s rooms. The subject, Richard P. Love, was suspected to have committed a number of bank robberies in southeastern Connecticut and in Rhode Island, and there was one warrant for his arrest outstanding. When Old Saybrook Police officers asked Mr. Love to exit the motel he was staying in, he refused, and displayed a firearm, and barricaded himself in the motel room. The Old Saybrook Police Department requested the assistance from other area police departments and the Connecticut State Police, who responded to the scene. Mr. Love was found to be in possession of a firearm, ultimately proven to be stolen, and had in his possession numerous rounds of ammunition. He fired that firearm two times while he was barricaded in the motel room, with one of those shots being a self-inflicted wound to his chin that occurred in the bathroom of the motel room. Mr. Love survived this wound as evidenced by the audio recordings, the observations of CSP Tactical Unit members, and the evidence found in the bathroom. Additionally, a post mortem exam showed that he was under the influence of illegal drugs. Finally, Mr. Love, made statements to the police and others that he was not going back to prison, and was going to either harm himself or make the police shoot him.
The motel was evacuated. Although the police had been communicating with Mr. Love via his cell phone, trying to convince him to come out of the motel room peacefully, without the firearm, he ultimately discharged the firearm, injuring himself. With a valid arrest warrant for a Richmond (R.I.) bank robbery, probable cause to believe that Mr. Love committed three additional bank robberies, Mr. Love displaying a firearm at the motel creating exigent circumstances to enter the motel room, and Mr. Love discharging the firearm, seemingly injuring himself, thereby creating an emergency, the CSP Tactical Unit was justified in entering the motel room at that point.
The CSP Tactical Unit, first with a robot, and then with a six-person team, entered the motel room and determined that Mr. Love was further barricaded in the bathroom. Concerned that Mr. Love may need medical attention, and to disarm him, the bathroom door was breached. Mr. Love, still armed with a firearm, although injured from his self-inflicted wound, refused to drop the firearm, and at times pointed it at CSP Tactical Unit members TFC Oenning and TFC McCarthy. Verbal commands were given to Mr. Love to drop the firearm and he refused. It was entirely reasonable for TFC McCarthy and TFC Konow to believe that deadly physical force was about to be inflicted upon TFC Oenning and/or TFC McCarthy. TFC McCarthy feared for his life and discharged his weapon three times. TFC Konow feared for the lives of TFC Oenning and TFC McCarthy and discharged his weapon twice. Along with Mr. Love’s self-inflicted wound, four of the five shots fired by TFC McCarthy and TFC Konow struck Mr. Love, and the result was, tragically, Mr. Love’s death.
Therefore, based upon the facts as set forth in this investigation, TFC McCarthy and TFC Konow reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary to defend themselves and their fellow troopers from the imminent use of deadly physical force. The use of deadly force by TFC McCarthy and TFC Konow was appropriate under Connecticut General Statutes §53-22.
Accordingly, the Division of Criminal Justice will take no further action.
Judicial District of Tolland
Sec. 51-277a. Investigation of the use of physical force by a peace officer that results in death of another person. (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.
(P.A. 88-199; P.A. 90-230, S. 66, 101; P.A. 98-48, S. 1; P.A. 11-51, S. 134; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 15-4, S. 4.)
APPENDIX B:CONNECTICUT GENERAL STATUTES §53a-22
Sec. 53a-22. Use of physical force in making arrest or preventing escape. (a) For purposes of this section, a reasonable belief that a person has committed an offense means a reasonable belief in facts or circumstances which if true would in law constitute an offense. If the believed facts or circumstances would not in law constitute an offense, an erroneous though not unreasonable belief that the law is otherwise does not render justifiable the use of physical force to make an arrest or to prevent an escape from custody. A peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b, motor vehicle inspector designated under section 14-8 and certified pursuant to section 7-294d or authorized official of the Department of Correction or the Board of Pardons and Paroles who is effecting an arrest pursuant to a warrant or preventing an escape from custody is justified in using the physical force prescribed in subsections (b) and (c) of this section unless such warrant is invalid and is known by such officer to be invalid.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section, a peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b, motor vehicle inspector designated under section 14-8 and certified pursuant to section 7-294d or authorized official of the Department of Correction or the Board of Pardons and Paroles is justified in using physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to: (1) Effect an arrest or prevent the escape from custody of a person whom he or she reasonably believes to have committed an offense, unless he or she knows that the arrest or custody is unauthorized; or (2) defend himself or herself or a third person from the use or imminent use of physical force while effecting or attempting to effect an arrest or while preventing or attempting to prevent an escape.
(c) A peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b, motor vehicle inspector designated under section 14-8 and certified pursuant to section 7-294d or authorized official of the Department of Correction or the Board of Pardons and Paroles is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person for the purposes specified in subsection (b) of this section 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.
(d) Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, a person who has been directed by a peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b, motor vehicle inspector designated under section 14-8 and certified pursuant to section 7-294d or authorized official of the Department of Correction or the Board of Pardons and Paroles to assist such peace officer, special policeman, motor vehicle inspector or official to effect an arrest or to prevent an escape from custody is justified in using reasonable physical force when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to carry out such peace officer's, special policeman's, motor vehicle inspector's or official's direction.
(e) A person who has been directed to assist a peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b, motor vehicle inspector designated under section 14-8 and certified pursuant to section 7-294d or authorized official of the Department of Correction or the Board of Pardons and Paroles under circumstances specified in subsection (d) of this section may use deadly physical force to effect an arrest or to prevent an escape from custody only when: (1) He or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force; or (2) he or she is directed or authorized by such peace officer, special policeman, motor vehicle inspector or official to use deadly physical force, unless he or she knows that the peace officer, special policeman, motor vehicle inspector or official himself or herself is not authorized to use deadly physical force under the circumstances.
(f) A private person acting on his or her own account is justified in using reasonable physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to effect an arrest or to prevent the escape from custody of an arrested person whom he or she reasonably believes to have committed an offense and who in fact has committed such offense; but he or she is not justified in using deadly physical force in such circumstances, except in defense of person as prescribed in section 53a-19.
(1969, P.A. 828, S. 23; 1971, P.A. 826; 871, S. 8; P.A. 86-231; 86-403, S. 87, 132; P.A. 92-260, S. 7; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-6, S. 23, 28; P.A. 04-257, S. 119; P.A. 05-108, S. 6; 05-180, S. 2; P.A. 08-150, S. 50; P.A. 10-36, S. 16.)
History: 1971 acts applied provisions of Subsecs. (a) to (f) to authorized officials of department of correction and specified authority to use physical force to prevent escape from custody in Subsec. (a) and deleted former Subsec. (g) which had allowed peace officers employed in correctional facilities to use force to prevent a prisoner's escape and specified use of “reasonable” physical force; P.A. 86-231 amended Subsec. (c)(2) to add provision that the felony involve the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury and that the officer or official give a warning if feasible of his intent to use deadly physical force; P.A. 86-403 made technical change in Subsec. (b); P.A. 92-260 made technical changes by replacing “believes it necessary”, “believes that such is necessary” and “believes it is necessary” with “believes such to be necessary”; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-6 amended Subsecs. (a) to (e), inclusive, to add authorized officials of the Board of Parole, effective July 1, 1994; P.A. 04-257 amended Subsecs. (a) to (e), inclusive, to delete references to an authorized official of the Board of Parole, effective June 14, 2004; P.A. 05-108 amended Subsecs. (a) to (e), inclusive, to restore references to an authorized official of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, effective June 7, 2005; P.A. 05-180 amended Subsecs. (a) to (e), inclusive, to include a special policeman appointed under Sec. 29-18b within the purview of said Subsecs. and made technical changes for the purpose of gender neutrality throughout; P.A. 08-150 amended Subsecs. (a) to (e) to include Department of Motor Vehicles inspector appointed under Sec. 14-8 and certified pursuant to Sec. 7-294d within purview of said Subsecs.; P.A. 10-36 amended Subsecs. (a) to (e) to replace “Department of Motor Vehicles inspector appointed” with “motor vehicle inspector designated” and make technical changes, effective July 1, 2010.
See Sec. 53a-23 re unjustified use of force to resist arrest.
Defendant is entitled to a theory of defense instruction as a matter of law when evidence under section is before jury. 178 C. 704. Cited. 204 C. 240; 209 C. 75.
Cited. 8 CA 667; 23 CA 615; 24 CA 195; 45 CA 390.
Cited. 43 CS 46.
Does not require person making the arrest to have been present at the time the felony was committed for defense of citizen's arrest to apply. 63 CA 228.
Defendant's firing of warning shot at fleeing assailants constituted use of deadly force proscribed by statute; to permit persons to fire warning shots would frustrate purpose of statute to limit use of guns to emergency situations to protect persons from death or great bodily harm. 35 CS 570. Cited. 39 CS 392.
APPENDIX F: STATEMENTS
APPENDIX G: CRIMINAL RECORD OF RICHARD P. LOVE (REDACTED)