Report: Conn. officer justified in trying to run down suspect while being fired upon
Dashcam video showed the suspect crossing in front of the police cruiser and immediately firing multiple shots at the Norwich officer
By Greg Smith
NORWICH, Conn. — A Norwich police officer who was fired at by a man carrying an AR-15 style rifle in 2021 was justified in returning gunfire and trying to run the man over, the state Office of Inspector General concluded in a report released on Wednesday.
The use of force report on the incident indicates that Norwich Police Officer Scott N. Dupointe "justifiably used deadly force," when he fired at 28-year-old Andrew O'Lone of Norwich on the evening of Oct. 26, 2021. Investigators concluded Dupointe was also justified in trying, but ultimately failing, to use his police vehicle to strike O'Lone.
The Office of the Inspector General has, since 2021, been tasked with conducting investigations into use of force incidents by police officers. Robert J. Devlin Jr. is the current inspector general.
According to the report, at about 10 p.m. on Oct. 26, Dupointe, who was at the time an 11-year veteran of the city police department, was working an overtime shift when he responded to calls reporting shots fired in the area of the Westwood Park apartment complex. A suspicious man had been seen in a nearby wooded area.
Dupointe was driving west on Dunham Street when a man wearing a ski mask appeared in the roadway about 50 yards from Dupointe's Ford Explorer. It was dark and Dupointe turned on his vehicle's spotlight.
"Now 25 yards from the officer and holding an AR-15 style rifle, O'Lone crossed in front of the police cruiser and immediately fired multiple shots in the direction of Officer Dupointe, nearly striking him and causing extensive damage to the vehicle," the report states.
O'Lone, police reports show, was carrying a rifle with a 30-round capacity magazine.
[EARLIER: Video: Glass flies as man shoots at officer along dark road]
Dashboard camera video from Officer Scott Dupointe's car shows a person crossing Dunham Street in front of the cruiser on October 26, 2021 and firing a weapon which is held across his chest in his right hand. (Courtesy of the Connecticut Office of the Inspector General)
Dupointe, in his statement to an investigator described the harrowing few moments after he encountered O'Lone.
"He's walking off of Stanley Place and I see him. I spotlight him and as soon as I spotlight him, he turns and just starts opening fire on my cruiser...I'm ducking in my seat because I'm afraid he's going to hit me. So...I try and run him over but that doesn't work so he runs by and I get out and shoot at him and he just keeps running. I thought for sure I was dead because I had nothing," Dupointe said in the interview with a detective.
Dupointe's Ford Explorer had already been hit multiple times by rifle shots, and O'Lone was walking towards Dupointe and still firing his rifle when Dupointe tried to put the vehicle into gear to run O'Lone over, the report states. The transmission was damaged however, and the vehicle did not move forward as expected.
With O'Lone just a few feet away, Dupointe drew his pistol, exited the vehicle and slipped and fell on the wet roadway. Dupointe told investigators he momentarily lost sight of O'Lone but saw him toss his rifle into a nearby driveway, according to the report. Dupointe fired two shots towards O'Lone as he fled west on Dunham Street towards Elizabeth Street.
Neither O'Lone nor Dupointe were shot in the incident.
At 10:45 p.m. on the night of the shooting, Susan O'Lone called police to tell them her son was mentally ill and had just shot at police. Her son had apparently called her and wanted to turn himself in. Andrew O'Lone turned himself in later that night.
O'Lone remains held on a $1 million bond on charges of attempted murder, attempted first-degree assault, assault on a police officer, illegal possession of an assault weapon, first-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree criminal mischief and illegal possession of a high capacity magazine.
When collecting evidence from the scene of the shooting, police said Dupointe's Ford Explorer had been shot in the bumper, headlight, hood and windshield. The back windshield was broken from what appeared to be bullets that had passed through the length of the vehicle. At least three homes and several vehicles in the neighborhood were also hit by bullets from O'Lone's gun, police said.
Police recovered 18 spent shell casings from a rifle in Dunham Street and another in a wooded area near 9 Westwood Park. The police vehicle had been hit 11 times.
State statute justifies a police officer's use of deadly force when "the officer reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend the officer or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly force."
"But for his quick reaction in taking cover in the vehicle, Dupointe stood a good chance of being shot that night by at least one of the high-powered rifle rounds," the report states.
O'Lone reportedly has a history of mental illness and has been under a voluntary conservatorship with the Probate Court at the time of the shooting. The Office of the Inspector General, in its report, notes that voluntary conservatorships do not bar a person from gaining access to firearms.
"Because here O'Lone gained access to an assault weapon and nearly assassinated a police officer, the Connecticut Probate Courts should consider re-examining whether the firearms restrictions should apply to a person sufficiently incapable of caring for him or herself that the person is subject to a voluntary conservatorship," the report states.
O'Lone, since his arrest, has undergone a psychiatric competency evaluation and found to be competent to stand trial. His case is pending in New London Superior Court.
Norwich Police Chief Patrick Daley thanked the Office of Inspector General for its professionalism in the investigation but declined further comment, citing the pending criminal case.
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