Two men were killed after a stolen SUV slammed into a synagogue early Monday morning.
State police identified the suspects who died as 23-year-old Tommy Clayton Brown of New Haven and Andrew Bolden-Velez, 20, of West Haven.
New Haven investigators remained on the the scene Monday morning to look into what caused the crash on Whalley Avenue and Harrison Street.
Part of Whalley Ave. was shut down during the investigation.
According to New Haven police, a pursuit began overnight when a victim told officers that a carjacking took place on Fitch Street around 1:15 a.m. The victim said he was approached by two men, one of whom said he had a handgun beneath his shirt.
The victim's wallet and cell phone were taken, along with the victim's Toyota Highlander.
The vehicle was spotted around 1:35 a.m. at Whalley and Winthrop Avenues. At that point, an officer followed the vehicle until backup arrived. However, it fled.
Officers said they tried to again pursue the vehicle but they lost sight of it.
They said they eventually found the SUV after it crashed into the Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel synagogue on Harrison Street, which is just off of Whalley Avenue.
State police said the side of the synagogue was breached as a result of the impact. No one was inside at the time.
"Unfortunately [it's] very sad, regardless of the circumstances," said Harold Birn, president, Congregation Beth El-Kesser Israel. "A couple of people lost their lives over it it, we're just taking care of getting the building cleaned up and getting it operational."
Birn said daily services would still be held. The social hall and sanctuary parts of the building, however, will be off limits.
A police sergeant told Eyewitness News that the owner of the stolen SUV was not hurt.
One of the suspected thieves died at the scene, and the other died at the hospital, according to police. They are both believed to be the carjackers.
Connecticut State Police are investigating due to protocol since troopers were involved in the pursuit.
Troopers said they will release further information as soon as they can.
Anyone with information is asked to contact state police at 860-848-6579.
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