Waterbury police identify suspect who shot undercover cop
WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) - A police officer was treated for minor injuries after being shot during an undercover operation in Waterbury late Wednesday night.
A suspect was identified on Friday morning as Jason Perez.
He faces a number of charges.
Perez was arrested and held on a $500,000 bond.
More arrests are expected.
The Waterbury Police Department scheduled a news conference for Friday at 11:30 a.m.:
They revealed that the officer who was shot was a Naugatuck officer who was in a vehicle with a Wolcott officer.
The officers were members of the Connecticut State Police violent crimes task force and were conducting an undercover surveillance operation, Waterbury police said. The incident occurred on Chase Parkway at the Interstate 84 east entrance ramp.
“Shortly after 10 p.m., an unknown vehicle fired upon one of our undercover cars with two police officers in it,” said Chief Fernando Spagnolo, Waterbury police. “There were more than one shot that was fired or multiple shots that were fired at the police car.”
The Naugatuck officer was grazed in the shoulder.
The officer was treated at a local hospital and released. His name was not released.
Police said the suspect vehicle could have been occupied by more than just Perez. Federal investigators were called to help search for the suspect.
“Members from our federal partners are on their way into town,” Spagnolo said.
Police confirmed that Perez was the target of the initial surveillance operation. However, the officers determined that they too were being surveilled.
Later, a black Audi caught up to the officers and the suspect opened fire on their vehicle. The driver of the Audi then entered Interstate 84.
Originally a collaboration between Waterbury and state police, the violent crime task force recently expanded to include towns surrounding the Brass City. It was formed to tackle violent crime throughout the region.
“Criminals and people engaged in criminal activity have no boundaries,” Spagnolo said. “They don’t understand boundaries or jurisdiction, they certainly don’t adhere to them, right? So, it’s difficult when police have to.”
As of Friday, this shooting marked the 12th incident nationwide where a police officer was shot, according to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive.
“They’re just trying to protect the people they’re sworn to protect and keep peace in the community,” said WFSB law enforcement analyst and retired state police Lt. J. Paul Vance.
Vance said officers in Connecticut have become big targets.
Since Oct. 7, New Haven Officer Chad Curry was shot at.
Also, Bristol officers Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy were killed. Officer Alec Iurato was injured in the same shooting.
Vance said it highlights how dangerous the job is becoming.
“There are things you’re trained to do in the police academy,” Vance said. “There are different ways to protect yourself and keep people safe, but you don’t always have the opportunity. These things happen in a split second.”
Anyone with information about what happened was asked to contact the Waterbury police Detective Bureau at 203-574-6941, or the Crime Stoppers tip line at 203-755-1234.
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