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Chief says officer hit by friendly fire during chaotic scene

December 9, 2020 GMT

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut police officer who was struck by gunfir e during a chaotic scene that unfolded as police tried to arrest a kidnapping suspect was shot by a fellow officer, officials said Wednesday.

The bullet struck the officer’s bullet-resistant vest, which saved him, Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said, adding that the officer, Charles Mauriello of the department’s auto theft task force, was home from the hospital and recovering.

Mauriello was shot Tuesday after the drivers of two SUVs revved their engines and sped into several Waterbury police vehicles, Spagnolo said at a news conference.

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Mauriello was part of a team of undercover officers trying to arrest Robert Harrison, a suspect in an armed kidnapping in New Britain the night before, Spagnolo said.

Officers from Waterbury’s auto theft and street crimes units were conducting surveillance on a stolen car when they spotted Harrison, the chief said. While the officers were arresting Harrison, the drivers of two SUVs revved their engines and crashed into several police cars, the chief said.

During the chaos, a five-year Waterbury police veteran fired his gun and one round struck Mauriello, he said.

Harrison was later taken into custody by New Britain police. It wasn’t clear if he had an attorney who could speak for him. Three other people were also arrested after Tuesday’s shooting.

Connecticut state police are investigating the Waterbury officer’s use of force, Sgt. Joseph Duva of the state police said.