Wethersfield Police officers recently shot and killed an alleged stolen vehicle suspect recently in Connecticut. The suspect appears to ignore officer commands to stop, potentially veering the vehicle at one responding officer. Despite the video evidence captured by police dash cam footage, public outcry has been high following the shooting.
Police shot 18-year-old Anthony “Chulo” Vega Cruz when the suspect failed to stop. Officers reported the plates did not match the car, giving probable cause to pull over the subject on suspicion of a stolen vehicle. However, Vega Cruz refused to comply with officer commands.
Wethersfield Police Respond
Footage shows the suspect flee from the initial stop. He then bounces the vehicle off another squad car before an officer steps in front of the suspects car, gun drawn. Though the video posted here lacks audio, other videos show the officer yell “Show me your hands” several times. But the suspect instead accelerates the vehicle toward the officer, who then fires into the vehicle.
At one point, the officer can be seen what appears to be clearing a jam from the pistol as the car settles to a stop. But the suspect’s car begins moving again, with the officer still engaging the suspect.
Vega Cruz ultimately died from his wounds two days later, sparking an outcry in the local community. “The young man is in the car – a gun is being pointed at him,” said Cornell Lewis, an organizer of protests according to wnpr.org. “Naturally, either reflexes or fear take over and you do something stupid. But doing something stupid like that is no reason to have an officer shoot point-blank at the man.”
“The video footage released today by the State’s Attorney’s office shows what we already knew: This officer acted recklessly when he murdered Chulo, an unarmed teenager with his girlfriend, during a traffic stop,” attorneys Benjamin Crump and Michael Jefferson said in a statement, as reported by wnpr.org. “We are devastated, enraged, and continue to demand justice for their son and brother. The video tells the story, and now, the officer must pay for his actions.”
However, the same video showed a different set of circumstances, according to Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran, as reported by wnpr.org. “The video speaks for itself,” Cetran said. “I’m glad for the transparency.”