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Officer ruled justified in shooting that wounded colleague

September 30, 2021 GMT

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut police officer who accidentally wounded a colleague while shooting at a stolen sport utility vehicle last December was justified in opening fire, according to a state prosecutor’s report released Thursday

Waterbury officer Garrett Pagel opened fire after the SUV rammed police cruisers and drove at him and other officers on Dec. 8, 2020, according to the report.

Pagel “reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary to defend himself, fellow officers and civilians in the immediate area from the imminent use of deadly physical force from the driver of the SUV,” Litchfield State’s Attorney Dawn Gallo concluded.

Pagel fired about a dozen shots at the SUV and one of the bullets struck officer Charles Mauriello in the chest, striking the bulletproof vest he was wearing. The vest may have saved his life, Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said shortly after the shooting.

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No one else was shot. Another officer, Marc Sharoh, suffered a concussion and other injuries when another stolen vehicle that was fleeing police crashed into his vehicle, authorities said.

The shooting happened as officers were arresting a kidnapping suspect, police said.

A 16-year-old juvenile who drove the SUV at Pagel, prompting the shooting, was arrested, police said.