Bristol officer deaths first by a firearm in 18 years

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BRISTOL, Conn. (WFSB) – It has been 18 years since an on-duty officer was killed by a firearm in Connecticut.

Officer Peter Lavery was killed in the line of duty in Newington on December 30, 2004.

Officer Lavery’s death is reminiscent of Officer Hamzy and Sergeant Demonte’s deaths.

“He was responding to what he thought was a routine domestic violence call. He didn’t know the guy who lived in the house was a former corrections officer, had been discharged for behavioral issues, had a bunch of guns, including an AR-15 and as the officer came into the house and went down in the basement stairs, the guy was just laying waiting for him,” said Mike Lawlor, Criminal Justice Professor, University of New Haven.

Both incidents where one where officers were ambushed with automatic weapons.

Lawlor says the best way to prevent something like this from happening is to make sure officers have all of the information possible.

“Are there guns in the home, do these individuals have a criminal record? Is there an ongoing divorce proceeding? Has there been incidents in the past at this address? Who else lives there?” said Lawlor.

The state developed a system years ago that police officers, who were trained on it, can have access to and see if there were any major red flags.

“I mean one thing is for certain, if this guy didn’t have an AR-15, the odds that three officers were shot and two of them were killed are very very low,” said Lawlor.

This will be heavily debated and discussed in coming weeks, and Lawlor says he wouldn’t be surprised if there were proposals when legislature reconvenes in the spring.

“They may not just be gun control laws, they may be strengthening our red flag law, doing more training for police, making sure police have access to the kind of information they need,” said Lawlor. “It’s going to affect the way they do their jobs and it’s going to make it more likely they’ll take greater precautions every response.”

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