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Conn. officer attacked by hammer-wielding man receives national recognition for her courage

Det. Karli Travis was inducted into the National Law Enforcement Officer Hall of Fame for her bravery after she was attacked by a suspect and hit multiple times with a hammer

By Justin Muszynski
Hartford Courant

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — A Middletown police detective injured last year during an attack by a hammer-wielding man has been inducted into the National Law Enforcement Officer Hall of Fame.

Det. Karli Travis was among eight inductees recognized during a ceremony over the weekend, according to the nonprofit organization’s website. Travis was honored with the Courage in Service Award.

“She is recognized for her bravery and heroism for an officer-involved shooting that saved her life and the lives of others last year,” the Middletown Police Department wrote in a statement. “Congratulations Detective Travis, MPD and the city of Middletown are proud of you.”

On Aug. 12, Travis was working a routine patrol shift when she responded just after 6:30 a.m. to a multi-family home at 195 Liberty St. on the report of excessive noise and glass breaking, according to a preliminary report on the shooting released by Connecticut Inspector General Robert Devlin Jr . After parking her marked cruiser and approaching the home on foot, Travis was confronted by 52-year-old Winston Tate.

Holding a hammer in his right hand, Tate exited the home and began walking toward Travis, body camera footage of the incident shows.

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

The footage shows Travis asking Tate to put the hammer down multiple times before he begins charging at her. She screams for him to stop as he continues charging toward her and pushes her to the ground before attacking her, video shows.

Tate can be heard screaming in apparent pain as he continues to attack the detective despite Travis firing her weapon multiple times, her bodycam shows. The body camera fell to the ground at some point during the struggle.

According to the preliminary report, Tate was wounded during the gunfire and retreated into the home.

Additional officers surrounded the home before Tate exited the basement hatchway and was taken into custody, the report said. He was treated by medics and taken in an ambulance to Hartford Hospital.

Tate was released from the hospital two days later and has been held on $850,000 bond since on assault charges, court records show.

Travis was also injured and was taken to Middlesex Hospital, where she was treated and released.

The shooting remains under investigation by the Connecticut Office of Inspector General.

This is the second year in a row a Connecticut police officer has been inducted into the National Law Enforcement Officer Hall of Fame.

In 2023, Bristol officer Alec Iurato received the Courage in Service Award for shooting and killing 35-year-old Nicholas Brutcher on Oct. 12, 2022. Brutcher had just killed Iurato’s fellow officers Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy during an ambush attack. Despite being shot in the leg, Iurato was able to take cover behind a police cruiser and kill Brutcher with a single shot.

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