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Body camera video: Suspect attacks Conn. detective with a hammer

The suspect hit Det. Karli Travis multiple times with a hammer; the prosecutor said the suspect has a history of assaulting law enforcement members


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Journal Inquirer
Manchester, Conn.

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — A man shot by a local police detective while hitting her with a hammer over the weekend has a history of assaulting law enforcement members, a prosecutor said during his arraignment Tuesday.

Winston Tate, 52, was taken into custody Saturday after being shot multiple times when he refused to drop the hammer, Middletown police said.

According to his arrest warrant, a witness said Tate hit Middletown Police Detective Karli Travis multiple times with a hammer while on top of her. A witness believed he heard seven to nine shots as Tate tried to attack the detective and the assault didn’t stop until a witness shouted profanities to distract Tate long enough for the detective to move, the arrest warrant said.

Tate was arraigned Tuesday in state Superior Court in Middletown where Judge Elizabeth Leaming increased his bond from $500,000 to $850,000 for the Saturday incident. Tate was also arraigned Tuesday in at least four other cases. Tate is being held on bonds totaling at least $1 million.

Public defender Angela Anastasi said her client has no ability to post any bond.

Prosecutor Christopher Parakilis described the strength of the state’s case as “overwhelming,” saying it includes an account by a neighbor across the street and the detective’s body camera footage. He said both indicate the detective told Tate to drop his weapon, a claw hammer, three times before he attacked her, hitting her in the shoulder and knocking her to the ground. When they were on the ground, the prosecutor said, Tate swung the claw hammer at the detective at least three times.

Travis needed stitches and suffered several bruises from the hammer, the warrant said.

The prosecutor called the attack “unprovoked” and “unmitigated.” He called the body camera footage “chilling” and “unbelievable.”

Tate has prior convictions for assaulting public safety personnel, Parakilis noted.

“This man’s disdain for law enforcement could not be drawn more clearly,” he said. “He is dangerous.”

Anastasi said Tate is an honorably discharged Army veteran, who served in Iraq.

She said Tate suffered several gunshot wounds in the incident with the detective, adding that one of them was “actively bleeding” as he stood in court. Court officials and Middletown Police Chief Erik Costa said Tate was hospitalized as recently as Monday.

Tate was, however, able to walk into and out of the courtroom under his own power and to stand during the hearing.

Tate spoke up several times during the court proceeding.

When his lawyer objected to video and photographic coverage on grounds that it could taint a future jury pool, he interrupted to say, “I want media coverage.”

Later in the hearing, Tate said, without further explanation, “They came to my house numerous times. They called me to come outside.”

Tate was charged Saturday with attempt to commit first-degree assault, second-degree assault, assault of a public safety officer and interfering with police.


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