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CT Inspector General releases report on 2022 fatal shooting of two Bristol police officers

CT Inspector General releases report on 2022 fatal shooting of two Bristol police officers

The Connecticut Office of Inspector General released a 66-page report Wednesdy detailing the night two Bristol Police Department officers were brutally gunned down and a third was shot during an ambush attack that may have been motivated by a previous encounter with police earlier in the night and a scolding from the suspect’s mother in addition to mounting stressors in his life.

The lengthy report, authored by Inspector General Robert Devlin Jr., follows a 20-month investigation and sheds new light on the deaths of Lt. Dustin DeMonte, 35, and Sgt. Alex Hamzy, 34, who were shot and killed outside a home at 310 Redstone Hill Road shortly after 10:40 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2022. A third officer, Alec Iurato, was shot and wounded before taking cover and killing the shooter, 35-year-old Nicholas Brutcher, with a single gunshot.

Two police officers killed, one seriously injured in ‘ambush’ shooting in Bristol

DeMonte, Hamzy and Iurato were the first to arrive at the home where officers went to the side door to speak with Nicholas Brutcher’s brother, Nathan Brutcher, according to Devlin. They ordered Nathan Brutcher to show his hands and step out of the house and, as he did, gunfire erupted.

Iurato, who was shot in the leg, was able to make his way around the home and take cover behind a police cruiser, according to Devlin. From there, he aimed and killed Nicholas Brutcher with a single shot.

Iurato was later taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, where he underwent surgery, according to the Connecticut State Police and now-retired Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould.

Who is Nick Brutcher? Bristol shooter had a Facebook page heavy on middle fingers, but friends were stunned by attack on police

According to Devlin, Nicholas Brutcher fired more than 80 rounds from behind, killing Hamzy at the scene. DeMonte was seriously injured and was rushed to Bristol Hospital, where he died.

According to Devlin’s lengthy report, the shooting followed a fight at Bleacher’s Bar that led to Nicholas Brutcher and his brother being pulled over by officers around 9 p.m. During the stop, Devlin wrote, Nicholas Brutcher made “degrading remarks toward” police and was later scolded by his mother.

“It is also plausible that the precipitating event was not the actions of the officers at the traffic stop, but rather Nicholas Brutcher’s mother’s comments publicly scolding him for being disrespectful to the officers and embarrassing the family,” Devlin wrote.

Devlin added that “it is also possible that reasons unknown to investigators may have motivated Nicholas Brutcher’s decision to attack the officers that day.”

In the report, Nicholas Brutcher was described as being in a downward spiral in which he drank heavily, took antidepressants and faced mounting debt.

The investigation also found that Nicholas Brutcher, for about a year, repeatedly installed and uninstalled Grindr, the report said. Information on his phone also suggested he had possibly gotten a woman pregnant and that she was expecting in October 2022. An analysis of the phone also reportedly found that a separate woman in a long-distance relationship with him told him the day of the shooting that she may be pregnant, according to the report.

The relationship with one of the women Nicholas Brutcher was involved with was described in the report as “volatile, hostile and toxic.” This woman was allegedly attempting to move in with him along with her two children, the report said.

“The analysis of Nicholas Brutcher’s phone, interviews of family/friends, and a comprehensive review of all collected evidence provided insight into the stressors of Nicholas Brutcher’s life that likely contributed to the ambush attack on officers,” the report said.

Bristol officer justified in fatally shooting man who fired over 80 rounds, killing Sgt. Dustin DeMonte and Officer Alex Hamzy: inspector general report

According to Devlin’s report, the events that unfolded the night of the shooting began when Nicholas Brutcher and his brother left their parents’ home and went to Bleacher’s Bar on Middle Street around 7:30 p.m. Devlin noted that both siblings had been drinking before going to the bar for an open mic event where Nicholas Brutcher planned to do stand-up comedy.

At the bar, a patron approached Nicholas Brutcher and put his arm around him, so Brutcher elbowed him in the area of his chest or face. When a bartender told both men to stop or she would call police, they said they were going to take it outside, Devlin wrote.

In the vestibule area of the bar, a bartender reported seeing Nicholas Brutcher punch the man in the head from behind, knocking him to the ground, the report said. They then continued fighting outside as a bartender called Bristol police.

When Nathan Brutcher, who was playing pool, learned of the fight he went outside before he was believed to have left in a truck with his brother.

A friend of Nicholas Brutcher who was at the bar and had known him since high school described him to investigators as “someone who liked to fight, even in his adult life, and a gun enthusiast,” according to the report.” The same man picked up a gun that he said fell from a holster during the fight, which was later determined to belong to the man who Nicholas Brutcher was fighting, the report said.

When police arrived at the bar shortly before 9 p.m. they were told by the man involved in the altercation that he did not want to press charges.

Another officer stopped the truck with the Brutchers inside in the area of Bayberry Drive and Surrey Drive. Multiple other officers also responded to the stop.

During the stop, Nicholas Brutcher reportedly made a number of degrading remarks toward police, including a racial epithet, a homophobic remark and a vulgar, sexual statement about an officer and his K-9 partner, the report said.

“Nicholas continued to make remarks in an obvious attempt to bait officers into an altercation,” an officer told investigators, adding that he also got into the face of a policeman at one point and told the officers that it was apparent they were afraid of him based on how many of them responded to the stop.

When Nicholas Brutcher approached one of the officers, the policeman used his arm to create some distance between the two, at which point Nicholas Brutcher became “very dramatic” and fell onto a grassy area in a residential yard, the report said. When he got up he approached the officer again and hugged him, the report said.

Devlin noted in his report that Nathan Brutcher was also “verbally aggressive” toward police as an officer wrote up an infraction for him for operating without a valid license, as police found that it had expired. The commotion caused by the brothers led to multiple residents in the area exiting their homes to see what was going on.

As a result, both Brutcher brothers were issued an infraction for creating a public disturbance. Because Nathan Brutcher didn’t have a license and his brother appeared intoxicated, police had the truck towed and called their mother to pick them up, the report said.

When she arrived, police said Nicholas Brutcher threw his ticket on the ground and refused to get in his mother’s car, according to Devlin’s report.

The mother told investigators she told her son “you’re embarrassing me” and “you know our name in Bristol means a lot to us as a family.”

“We’ve lived here all of our lives, raised all you kids here.” she told him.

“Nick, you’re embarrassing your family; you’re embarrassing our name,” the mother said to Nicholas Brutcher, she told investigators.

The mother brought Nathan Brutcher home and later returned to the area and apologized to police. She said she would pick up Nicholas Brutcher, who had walked away from the area.

When she did, she told investigators, he sarcastically apologized before they arrived home around 9:30 p.m. The mother said Nicholas Brutcher told her goodnight and “I love you” before she went to her bedroom.

When she went down for a cigarette later in the night, Nathan Brutcher, who lived in the house next door with Nicholas, allegedly told her his brother was “putting on his armor and his fatigues” and calling the cops and “telling them to come back here,” according to the report.

She told investigators she told Nathan Brutcher that her son wouldn’t do that and went back to her bedroom for some time before she and her husband came back downstairs based on “her intuition that something was not right,” the report said. As they were lighting a cigarette, they heard gunfire ring out.

As part of the investigation, investigators reviewed the 911 call Nicholas Brutcher made as well as the body camera footage from the slain officers and Iurato. The 911 call, placed just after 10:30 p.m., revealed Nicholas Brutcher told police that they had an “altercation” with his brother earlier in the night and that “ I don’t know if he’s good.”

He went on to say “I just think that this young man needs some talking to” and told dispatchers he was acting “aggressive,” the report said.

When DeMonte, Hamzy and Iurato arrived at the home, Hamzy informed them that he had remembered attending school with Nicholas Brutcher. Unbeknownst to police, Nicholas Brutcher was hiding in the bushes at the home next door dressed in a camouflage shirt, pants and a vest with an AR-15 rifle, “at least one handgun” and several ammunition magazines, the report said.

Hamzy noticed a shotgun leaning up against the garage and grabbed it as Iurato ordered Nathan Brutcher out of the home when he appeared in the doorway, Devlin wrote. Nicholas Brutcher then unleashed a “a volley of gunshots” from his rifle, striking all three police officers and his brother.

Hamzy fell to the ground as Nathan Brutcher retreated into the home. DeMonte walked to the rear of the home before returning to the driveway area, where he collapsed, the report said.

By this point, the mother said she and her husband ran outside.

She told investigators “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” according to the report. “I couldn’t believe it, what I was seeing, because he was just going back and forth and it didn’t seem real to me.”

The mother told investigators she screamed “stop, stop, stop” as her son walked up to an officer who was down and shot him in the head. Just before he did, his father yelled “don’t you (expletive) do it.”

According to Devlin’s report, Nicholas Brutcher fired multiple shots into DeMonte and then Hamzy as they were helpless and on the ground.

Just before shooting Hamzy multiple times, Nicholas Brutcher said “You, Alex Hamzy, I’m not going to kill you. I’m not going to kill you.”

After putting a magazine incorrectly into the rifle, the report said, he pulled out a handgun and continued firing while reportedly asking his parents, “How proud are you of me? How proud?”

“And I don’t know if it was about what I said earlier …” the mother told investigators about his statement.

Iurato, who had been shot in the leg, made his way around the home and into the front yard where he radioed in that shots were fired and an officer was shot.

“More cars, send everyone,” Iurato said.

After initially gathering himself behind a tree, Iurato took cover behind a cruiser and steadied himself before firing the single shot that killed Nicholas Brutcher, the report said.

In his report, Devlin concluded that Iurato’s actions were necessary to defend himself and help and other officers who responded to the scene.

 

Police line the path as the hearses for Bristol Police officers Dustin DeMonte and Alex Hamzy arrive at a funeral service, Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, in East Hartford, Conn. Thousands of police officers from around the country have gathered in a football stadium in Connecticut for a joint funeral for the officers who were shot to death in an apparent ambush on Oct. 12. (Sean Fowler/Hartford Courant via AP)
Sean Fowler/AP
Police line the path as the hearses for Bristol Police officers Dustin DeMonte and Alex Hamzy arrive at a funeral service, Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, in East Hartford, Conn. Thousands of police officers from around the country have gathered in a football stadium in Connecticut for a joint funeral for the officers who were shot to death in an apparent ambush on Oct. 12. (Sean Fowler/Hartford Courant via AP)

In addition to the guns used in the shooting, investigators seized seven firearms located in a gun safe in the garage of the home. Inside the kitchen, they found 25 .357 rounds, one 9mm round, and a Glock 19 9mm pistol that was loaded. They also found in a bedroom of the home a Sig Sauer 1911 .45 caliber pistol and a Remington Model 700, as well as “multiple ammunition storage containers containing an assortment of different calibers of ammunition,” the report said.

In March 2023, Iurato was inducted into the National Law Enforcement Hall of Fame, receiving the Courage In Service Award. He returned to the Bristol Police Department in September 2023 following nearly a year of recovery and began working in the Training Division, where he is still assigned.

The deaths of DeMonte and Hamzy jolted the city of Bristol and communities across Connecticut. The men were remembered in front of thousands of law enforcement officials and community members at Rentschler Field in East Hartford a little over a week after their deaths.

The outpouring of support for the fallen officers led to well over $1 million being raised for their families through the “Bristol Police Heroes Fund,” the “Fund the First” campaign and other efforts.

Thousands of people packed the street in front of the Bristol Police Department to pay their respects to DeMonte and Hamzy on the first anniversary of the fatal shootings. Gould, who has since retired as chief of the department, led a candlelight vigil to remember the slain officers and recognize the heroic efforts of Iurato.

DeMonte and Hamzy were memorialized at a garden dedicated to the slain officers at St. Joseph’s Cemetery. The community is also planning to build a memorial outside the police department recognizing all five Bristol police officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

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