Meriden Police Officer Found Dead

MERIDEN, CT — A Meriden man was arrested on various charges including that he strangled a police officer, according to a police statement. Police said they responded to 233 Cook Ave. several times Tuesday and Wednesday.Dave Andaz, 53, was “the caller as well as the subject of each investigation,” according to police. Andaz was accused of disturbing the residents of the multifamily home where he lives.

Before they were able to make contact with Andaz, he left the home and got into an altercation with a police officer. Andaz strangled the police officer and had to be torn away by assisting officers, according to police.

Police learned Andaz had an active warrant for his arrest. Police also learned that Andaz may have been suffering from a psychological episode. Police established a perimeter, and crisis negotiators were dispatched to the scene.
Andaz was charged in three separate cases with third-degree assault, two counts of second-degree breach of peace, two counts of second-degree threatening, misuse of 911, second-degree harassment, assault on a police officer, first-degree strangulation, disorderly conduct, and second-degree criminal mischief.After this, police were able to collect video surveillance with the help of members of the public and local businesses which allowed them to quickly determine the events that led up to the shooting. The incident happened on Monday, March 20 around 6 p.m., when police in Meriden responded to the area of West Main Street at Lewis Avenue for a reported shooting. According to Meriden Police, upon arriving, officers found a man and woman with gunshot wounds inside a parked vehicle in addition to a handgun and immediately sent for medical assistance.

An initial investigation later identified 33-year-old Warren Watson as a person of interest. He was then located at 235 Grove St. and found with a gunshot wound. As a result, he was also taken to a nearby hospital. A bag containing seven bullets and cannabis were found during a search of De Zoysa’s clothing and body, but officers did not discover a .41-calibre revolver loaded with six rounds. De Zoysa, who was living in Banstead, Surrey, discharged a fourth shot while on the cell floor 16 seconds later, hitting an artery in his own neck and causing brain damage.A three-week trial at Northampton Crown Court was shown distressing video footage of New Zealand-born Met Police Sergeant Matt Ratana being hit in the chest by the first of three shots discharged by De Zoysa within three seconds.

De Zoysa from Banstead, Surrey, claimed diminished responsibility, and denied committing murder, but the jury decided that he pulled the antique weapon’s trigger deliberately and did not suffer an autistic meltdown.Sgt Ratana’s partner, Su Bushby, and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley were among those in the public gallery as the verdict was returned.

CCTV evidence suggested he managed to get hold of the gun with his right hand around 16 minutes before the shooting and then took advantage of a vent at the back of his overcoat to hide the weapon until the shooting.A second bullet struck the 54-year-old in the thigh, before De Zoysa was wrestled to the ground by other officers as a third round hit the cell wall at Croydon’s Windmill Road custody centre.

The 25-year-old, who now uses a wheelchair, has communication difficulties and is being treated at a healthcare unit in Northamptonshire, was arrested in London Road, Norbury, in the early hours of Friday, 25 September 2020.
A jury of seven men and five women deliberated for just over five hours over two days before unanimously convicting Louis De Zoysa, who listened to the verdict sitting in a wheelchair in the secure glass-fronted dock.

They found De Zoysa guilty of shooting Sergeant Ratana in the chest while handcuffed during a search at the police station in Croydon in the early hours of 25 September 2020.
During the trial, prosecutors said De Zoysa “retrieved” the weapon from a holster under his left arm, while handcuffed to the rear, as he was being transported to Windmill Road in a police van.Around 7:30 a.m., police and medics were dispatched back to that same Olive Street apartment for a reported dead male victim. Police said the man was found dead in the bedroom.

Medical personnel responded to an apartment on Olive Street at 7 a.m. Friday for a report of a possible drug overdose or seizure, police said. The female victim was taken to Midstate Medical Center for treatment.

MERIDEN — Police said a man was found dead 30 minutes after first responders transported a woman from the same Olive Street apartment to the hospital for “suspicious circumstances.”

“Preliminary indications reveal a connection between the two parties involved,” police said. “The case is in its early stages and the police department is in the process of conducting interviews, obtaining search warrants and processing the scene.”Officers were called around 7 a.m. by medical personnel who had responded to the apartment for a possible drug overdose or seizure. The woman was taken to the hospital for treatment, but the medical crews at the scene told police there appeared to be suspicious circumstances in the apartment.

Meriden police are investigating the discovery of a dead man inside a home on Olive Street on Friday morning. Officers were called around 7 a.m. by medical personnel who had responded to the apartment for a possible drug overdose or seizure. The woman was taken to the hospital for treatment, but the medical crews at the scene told police there…
Police responded to the hospital to begin an investigation, but then receieved a second call about a man who was possibly dead at the same apartment. Officers went to the Olive Street home and found the man dead in a bedroom.

A 40-year-old man was found dead near the Harbor Brook River in Meriden on Monday morning. Police have identified him as Joseph Stedman, of Meriden. Investigators said construction workers returning to work found Stedman’s body behind a home near a path that they had been using. Authorities have not released details about his death, but said he had some medical…
The entrance to the Meriden Police Department. On Tuesday, June 13, 2023, Meriden police released the name of a man whose body was found the day before by a construction crew. No foul play is suspected in his death, authorities have said.

The discovery came less than a day after authorities in New Haven said they also discovered a body in the Quinnipiac River. Police said Monday they were still trying to identify the individual.Peter Yankowski is a breaking news reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media Group. He was previously a reporter for the Danbury News-Times and the Ridgefield Press.Police said officers responded to a report of a person lying in the road near the entrance of MidState Medical Center on Lewis Avenue at 11:36 p.m. and they found the man unresponsive.

A 58-year-old man who was found unresponsive near MidState Medical Center in Meriden Wednesday night has died and police said the man appeared to have been struck by a vehicle. They are asking for members of the public who have information about what happened to come forward.
A 58-year-old man who was found unresponsive near MidState Medical Center in Meriden Wednesday night has died and police said the man appeared to have been struck by a vehicle. They are asking for members of the public who have information about what happened to come forward. Police said officers responded to a report of a person lying in the…Police said the vehicle pulled over to the side of the road after it hit the man, a passenger got out of the vehicle, looked around, then went back inside and the vehicle headed north on Lewis Avenue, then turned left onto Kensington Avenue toward the Chamberlain Highway.

Police later identified the victim as 58-year-old Clarence Harkless, of New Britain. Harkless frequented Meriden often and was known throughout the city, according to police.
If you witnessed the crash or have information about it, or live or work in the area and have video surveillance that might assist in the investigation, police ask that you call the Meriden Police Department at 203-630-6201.“She told me what had happened at their apartment and how her mother told her to leave the apartment,” DelMastro said. “I got the sense that something bad was happening.”

MERIDEN, CT (WFSB) – A Meriden police captain in the right place at the right time is being praised for helping shield three young children during a brutal crime.
Though DelMastro’s observation got officers to the scene before 911 calls started coming in, Meriden police said the children’s’ mother, 37-year-old Dominique Curtis, had been shot and killed by someone she was dating.Section 51-277a, of the Connecticut General Statutes, provides that “the Division of Criminal Justice shall cause an investigation to be made whenever a peace officer, in the performance of his duties, uses deadly physical force upon another person and such person dies as a result thereof . . .” Traditionally, the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District where the death occurs, represents the Division of Criminal Justice in such capacity. The State’s Attorney must not only make a finding as to the circumstances of the incident, but also must make “a determination of whether the use of such deadly physical force by the police officer was appropriate (reasonable) under Section 53a-22”, Connecticut General Statues, and a determination as to “any future action to be taken by the Division of Criminal Justice as a result of the incident.” A peace officer . . . is justified in using deadly physical forced upon another person only when he reasonably believes such is necessary to: (1) Defend himself or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force. . . . Angel Louis Cajigas, age 37, had a history of mental instability apparently dating back some years. Such reportedly was a factor in his relocation from Puerto Rico to Meriden. The police investigation did not reveal any bizarre conduct by the deceased during that period of time until the morning of April 21, 2012.

First responding police were advised by two women in the front yard that the deceased was running up and down the stairs and in and out of the house. He was making banging noises and yelling about God, the devil and demons and was holding rosary beads.
Officer Gasparri and other officers could reasonably believe they were confronted with a life threatening situation when the deceased, who appeared to be mentally deranged, entered into the hall with the scissors. Undeniably depending how used scissors can be a deadly weapon. Moreover, there was no way of practically fleeing.During this, at least one tenant stated that he heard police attempt to reason with the decedent. Another tenant heard someone say “calm down” several times.The landing was approximately nine by thirteen feet. However, almost half of the landing was occupied by furniture and the stairwell. Also, an enclosed doorway intruded into the area. In reality the unimpeded area in which the officer met the decedent was less than five by ten feet. Moreover, this area was further confined by the low attic ceiling which sloped on each side to conform to the pitch of the roof. Although the loss of life, particularly under these circumstances is tragic, it is concluded based upon Section 53a-22, C.G.S. and applicable case law that Officer Gasparri based upon the circumstances acted reasonably and legally when he shot Angel Luis Cajigas. No further action will be taken by the Division of Criminal Justice. Paragraph 5: There is a gunshot entry wound in the lateral aspect of the upper left arm. It travels through the arm and enters the chest. It goes through the heart and comes to rest in a subcutaneous space in the area of the right chest. The bullet is marked by the Medical Examiner as “W-836.”

He was moving toward Officer Gasparri and others in what was a cramped area. Moreover, as he exited his room, he thereby blocked access to the stairs. There was no escape route or ability to retreat for the officers. At that point, Officer Gasparri fired two shots. The deceased stopped and continued forward whereupon a third shot was fired and Officer Gasparri fell to the floor in a seated position. The deceased went to the floor and then started to get up whereupon a fourth and final shot was fired. The deceased fell to the floor and apparently was dead or near death when medical assistance arrived.
Paragraph 1-2: There is a gunshot entry wound on the top of the right hand and exit wound in the palm. The bullet re-entered the body on the right chest close to the nipple. The chest injury indicates the bullet travelled from left to right and upward and exits on the backside.At this point the officers had the following options: to forcibly enter his room, wait in hopes that the deceased would quiet down and voluntarily open the door, or leave the scene.

The four officers were forced backward towards the south wall on the landing. Officer Egan had, as yet, not had time to draw his service weapon since utilizing his Taser. Unable to retreat further, Officer Gasparri fired two shots at the deceased. The latter moved back slightly and then continued forward. Officer Gasparri fired one more shot causing the officer to fall back to a seated position. The decedent who had fallen to the floor, attempted to raise off the floor. Officer Gasparri fired a fourth and final shot and the deceased slumped back to the floor.
When the door was forced open the deceased was observed standing while holding 9” scissors in a threatening position in his hand. He moved toward the officers. The order was given to deploy a stun gun. Such was clearly a responsible and minimum use of force considering the situation. This did not deter the deceased. He continued to move forward with the scissors held in a threatening position.

The decedent was standing inside about three feet from the threshold. He was holding scissors in an icepick type grip at chest level. They were pointed down and he was moving them up and down in a stabbing motion. The four officers present variously described the decedent’s appearance as eyes wide open, staring, emotionless, looking possessed, zombie-like eyes and eyes were empty. Officer Gasparri backed away from the doorway as the deceased moved in his bedroom toward the door. The officer then moved aside to permit Officer Egan to deploy his Taser. Two probes were fired both striking the deceased. In spite of this the decedent continued to move forward and crossed the threshold onto the landing still holding the scissors in a threatening position.
Around 2:00 a.m., on April 21, 2012, most of residents interviewed in statements to the police reported hearing yelling in Spanish upstairs as well as loud noise similar to things being thrown around. Then they heard someone run downstairs and exit the house. The deceased was around that time seen outside without a shirt and holding rosary beads in his hand. He was standing next to a large stump and was yelling for a period of five to ten minutes. During such time he made reference to God and demons. He then ran back up to the third floor. The deceased then continued throwing things around for approximately one hour. During this period residents yelled to him to be quiet. He was heard to say, among other things “God, I am over here” and “I am the Lord’s coming.” Also, he ran to the second floor where he broke many items in the kitchen area. At that point in time one of the tenants who had heard all of the ongoing activity called 911 at 2:38 a.m.The appropriate inquiry is whether the officers acted reasonably, not whether they had less intrusive alternatives available to them. Scott v. Henrich , 39 F. 3d 912, 915 (9th Cir. 1992).The fact that police officers are often forced to make split second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain or rapidly evolving about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation. On Friday, April 20, 2012, second floor tenant Carlos Rodriguez saw the decedent at about 7:30 a.m., in the kitchen on the second floor. He next saw him for the period 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. as they watched TV in the deceased’s third floor bedroom. They also had supper together and smoked in the backyard during such period. At around 6:30 p.m. they apparently went to their respective bedrooms. The following report concerning the shooting death in Meriden of Angel Luis Cajigas, a.k.a. Raul Rosado, on April 21, 2012, is prepared and submitted by Michael Dearington, State’s Attorney, Judicial District of New Haven, pursuant to Section 51-277a, of the Connecticut General Statutes. The lethal shots were fired by on duty Meriden Police Officer Richard Gasparri, while located on the third floor of 10 Maple Branch Road. The report and conclusions are based upon the investigation conducted by the Western District Major Crime Squad of the Connecticut State Police with the assistance of the Forensic Science Crime Laboratory of the Connecticut State Police, the Office of the State Medical Examiner and the Meriden Police Department.At about 8:30 p.m., the decedent went to the second floor and spoke to Mr. Rodriguez. They both then went to the deceased’s bedroom and watched television until 11:00 p.m. at which time Mr. Rodriguez returned to his room.

An autopsy was performed on Angel Luis Cajigas a.k.a. Raul Rosado on April 23, 2012, at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, by H. Wayne Carver, M.D., the Chief Medical Examiner. The cause of death was found to be due to multiple gunshots. The report indicates that the deceased was struck by three bullets. The following refers to paragraphs in the autopsy protocol.
The deceased Angel Luis Cajigas, a.k.a. Raul Rosado was born in Aquada, Puerto Rico, on October 20, 1975. According to a family member, the deceased’s mother sent her son from Puerto Rico to the continental United States because he often lost behavioral control of himself and spoke nonsensically. At the time of his death he had been in the continental U.S. about three years. He lived at 10 Maple Branch Road in Meriden for about one year. Such structure is a three level apartment house that contains four bedrooms on the first floor, four bedrooms, a common room with a kitchen, a dining room and a bathroom on the second floor and three rooms on the third floor. Initially the deceased lived on the second floor and then moved to the third floor. It is reported that he was a good tenant. He paid his rent on time and was friendly with the other tenants. People familiar with the deceased indicate he suffered from depression and a “mental condition” and was taking medication for such problem. Also, it was reported that the deceased weekly smoked marijuana. It was also reported by an acquaintance that the deceased periodically visited Rushford which is a local substance abuse and mental health clinic.

Tenants in statements to investigators among other things stated that they heard several individuals loudly state “police” as they went up the stairs as well as at the top of the stairs. Also, they corroborated that the decedent was throwing objects not only on the second floor but also the third floor.
Then police while continuing to identify themselves ascended the stairs to the third floor landing. The deceased’s bedroom door immediately on the right of the stairs was locked. Police heard both shouting and objects being thrown about behind the door.