Driver of stolen police cruiser slams into diner in Bristol

A driver in a stolen police cruiser slammed into a diner in Bristol, according to police.
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 12:44 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2023 at 5:25 AM EST
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BRISTOL, CT (WFSB) - A driver in a stolen police cruiser slammed into a diner in Bristol, according to police.

Authorities said it happened at Palma’s Diner at 100 Stafford Ave. on Thursday afternoon.

Bristol police were investigating a carjacking that happened in Farmington, officials said.

A suspect stole a police cruiser and led officers on a pursuit, Bristol police said.

The driver then crashed the stolen cruiser into Palma’s.

Bristol police identified the suspect as Jimmie Shoemaker-Gonzalez, 39.

Police said Shoemaker-Gonzalez was taken into custody and charged with larceny first-degree. He is held on a $1 million bond.

Bristol police said shots were fired during the incident, but did not specify by who.

The incident is being investigated by the Office of the Inspector General.

A photo of Shoemaker-Gonzalez is unavailable at this time.

A DOT worker told Eyewitness News he was driving a snowplow on Scott Swamp Road in Farmington when suddenly he was hit by a dark SUV. He said the driver spun the SUV out of control, then hit a fence and crashed into a stone wall.

According to that eyewitness, the SUV was totaled.

Police said Shoemaker-Gonzalez went to a nearby condo complex and tried to steal two cars from people at knifepoint.

On his third attempt he was successful, however police said a 27-year-old man sustained minor injuries.

“A gentleman was getting into his car and he was hijacked. And he did suffer from a stab, it wakes you up you have kids. It’s a big eye opener,” said an eyewitness who did not want to be identified.

Shoemaker-Gonzalez then drove to Bristol where he stole a police cruiser that was parked in the area of Jerome Avenue and Davis Drive.

After stealing the cruiser, Shoemaker-Gonzalez led police on a chase which ended up on Stafford Avenue, where he drove the stolen police cruiser right into Palma’s Diner.

“I heard the siren. I thought it was the ambulance coming by but it made like a blow. Like a bomb,” said Norman Morneault, a customer. “We went to look to help the officer, but we realized its not an officer. And then we went to the other side and it was a gun on the seat.”

Palma’s Diner posted an update on Facebook Thursday afternoon:

Palma’s said nobody inside was hurt. Family and staff are not sure when they will be able to reopen.

Shoemaker-Gonzalez has a criminal record. He’s been guilty of assault and strangulation charges in recent years.

He is being held on a 1 million dollar bond.

Waleed Rafiq, the manager of a gas station across the street heard the crash.

Bristol police said drivers in the area of Stafford Avenue and Brook Street should seek alternate routes.

There is no danger to the public at this time.

Refresh this page and watch Eyewitness News for updates.

Suspect slams stolen police vehicle into Bristol restaurant
Suspect crashes stolen police cruiser into diner in Bristol