Bristol Police ‘complex’ firing probe delays release of details

More than a month after two Connecticut police officers were killed and another injured in an apparent ambush, few details have been released about the investigation and whether charges will be filed against the shooter’s brother.

The Death of Bristol Police Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy are being investigated by the Connecticut State Police Serious Crimes Unit in the Central District. State Inspector Robert Devlin is conducting a separate inquiry into whether Bristol Police Officer Alec Iurato, 26, who survived the ambush, was justified in fatally shooting suspect Nicholas Brutcher.

The investigation is “incredibly complex,” according to State Police Sgt. Christine Jetelema, a spokeswoman for the agency. Investigators are interviewing neighbors, employers, witnesses and family members while also collecting any evidence related to the shooting, she said. While the investigation is pending, Jetelema said state police will not release any documents or recordings, including the 911 call, which authorities believe was a hoax, to Bristol officers on the night of October 12 into the house on Redstone Hill Road.

Once the investigation is complete, Jetelema said it would be up to New Britain prosecutor Chris Watson to decide whether to press charges.

Authorities have not said what role, if any, Nicholas Brutcher’s brother Nathan played in the shooting. Nathan Brutcher was also injured in the incident, but police have not said who shot him. No further information about his recovery has been released and police have not responded to questions about him.

The Hearst Connecticut Media Group has made requests under Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act for documents and records related to the shooting, including events that may have led to the incident. State police have declined to provide the information until the investigation into the shooting is complete. Devlin is still determining what can be released from his office, officials said.

Sources say the Brutcher brothers were involved in an incident at the nearby Bleachers bar on Middle Street in the hours leading up to the shooting. The owner of a business adjacent to the bar told Hearst Connecticut Media that investigators requested his security videos, which showed the Brutcher brothers approaching Bleachers the night of the incident.

An incident log from Bristol Police for the evening of October 12 shows officers were called to Bleachers at 8:52pm to report a “malfunction” on Redstone Hill Road at 10:29pm

However, police have declined to release the Bleachers’ incident report and have not responded to questions about whether the Brutcher brothers were charged or subpoenaed that night. The state judiciary website does not list any pending criminal charges against the Brutchers.

Although Gov. Ned Lamont has referenced a semi-automatic rifle used in the ambush and called the guns a “cop killer,” authorities have not responded to questions about the type of gun used in the incident. No one requested a warrant for authorities to confiscate firearms belonging to the Brutcher brothers before the shooting, state justice officials said.

Devlin’s investigation has provided some insight into what may have happened the night of the shooting. According to a preliminary report released on October 16, Devlin concluded that Iurato was justified in firing the single shot that killed Nicholas Brutcher.

“While some details of the investigation have yet to be determined, the evidence collected to date indicates that Officer Iurato’s use of deadly force was warranted,” Devlin wrote in the report.

DeMonte, Hamzy and Iurato had responded to an emergency call about a domestic dispute at 310 Redstone Hill Road, where Nicholas Brutcher lived, Devlin said in the report. As Hamzy and DeMonte were talking to Nathan Brutcher at a side door of the home, Nicholas Brutcher appeared behind the officers and began shooting at them, Devlin said.

“As Nathan Brutcher got out, gunfire erupted,” Devlin said. “Nicholas Brutcher fired well over 80 rounds, attacked the officers from behind, fatally shot both Sgt. DeMonte and Officer Hamzy, and wounded Officer Iurato.”

While wounded, Iurato managed to get around the house and took cover behind a police cruiser as more gunfire can be heard in the portion of his body cam video released with Devlin’s findings.

When the gunfire stopped, Iurato got out and fired a shot that killed Nicholas Brutcher, video showed. He died of a spinal cord injury in his neck, the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said.