Norwich, CT Police Officer Shot in Standoff
Ley, a 1992 Norwich Free Academy graduate, was brought by ambulance to The William W. Backus Hospital and then flown by Life Star helicopter to Yale-New Haven Hospital where he is listed in critical condition. Police are still trying to communicate with the gunman who is in the large complex's "D" building at 99 Cedar St.
Police said tonight the suspect is monitoring the situation on Facebook and social media but would not confirm whether the man is posting anything. The suspect's identity has not been released.
Witnesses said Ley was conscious, talking and squeezing the hand of one of his fellow officers as he was carried him out of the building after he was shot. Witnesses said he appeared to have been shot in the neck, shoulder and leg.
A woman who lives in the complex said she heard the gunman yell "I wish it was his head."
Ley served in the U.S Coast Guard and as a Coast Guard reservist including an assignment in Bayonne, N.J. after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and in Kuwait in 2009. He has been a member of the police department since 1998 and in 2009 received a lifesaving award.
Police said at about 2:45 p.m., police received a report of a person announcing an intention "to commit suicide-by-cop." Officers set up a perimeter and began to attempt to communicate with the gunman. State Police also responded with troopers and specialized equipment.
Beginning about 3:55 p.m. police said several shots were fired and the Norwich officer was struck a number of times. One witness said he heard police officers yell "We need more guns" after Ley was shot.
Apartment complex residents reported hearing about 30 shots that sounded like they came from a rifle and handgun.
At the same time, a 14-year-old girl who lives in the apartment complex suffered a seizure after she saw the shot officer and had to be brought to the hospital, according to her father Steven Bartlett.
"It was crazy. I'll doubt I'll sleep tonight," he said.
Large numbers of local and state police as well as several ambulances have descended on the complex whose residents were evacuated by school buses that are staging at the former Buckingham School grounds. Some Residents said police told them to stay close to the building and the run for safety. Kelley Middle School is open to house the evacuees until the incident ends, according to Sue Rochester-Bolen, the head of the local chapter of the American Red Cross.
There are currently 13 people at the shelter.
Around 9 p.m. police were able to evacuate 89-year-old Carmen Paboncoto, who remained in her apartment for several hours of the ordeal. Officers rolled Paboncoto in a gurney down the steep Cedar Street to a warming trailer set up on Happy Street.
New London police officer Jim Suarez is also on scene to act as a Spanish translator for other residents who have been unable to evacuate.
At the start of Monday night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Peter Nystrom asked the audience to pray silently for the police officer who was shot saying he was in critical but stable condition.
The armed standoff just a short distance from City Hall cast a somber tone over the first council meeting of the year, which features the mayor’s State of the City Address.
Nystrom praised the city police department, its recently revived community policing effort and its work with city schools to restore school resource officers lost to budget cuts.
“One only has to look within this state to see the value of SRO’s and Dare officers in preventing tragedies,” Nystrom said. “The men and women of the Norwich Police Department have done an outstanding job during this past year, and I want to recognize them for their day to day efforts. The Police Department was successful in its application request for a highly competitive federal COPs grant that is providing federal funding for four police officers to augment our locally funded staffing for the City’s community policing program.” -The Day Newspaper