Massachusetts man arrested for assaulting Branford cops with stolen car

Michael Lear (Photo provided by the Branford Police Dept.)

BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A Massachusetts man was arrested Saturday morning after police say he assaulted two officers, injuring them while trying to get away.

Shortly before eight o’clock Saturday morning, police got a call about a suspicious car spotted on East Main street. Upon arrival, Branford police officers Lue Sobieraj and John Cassella ran the plates on the Impala and determined the car had been stolen in Wethersfield Wednesday.

“When they tried to take him into custody and tried to handcuff him, he became combative, aggressively fighting with the officers,” said Branford police captain Geoffrey Morgan. “He’s a very large man.”

The suspect, Michael Lear, was able to get away and back in the stolen car. He struck both officers while speeding away from the scene. Officer Sobieraj suffered a broken wrist, and injuries to his shoulder and leg. Officer Casella also suffered injuries to his shoulder and leg in the incident. Both officers are out of the hospital and are expected to make full recoveries.

Lear’s run from the law didn’t last very long, ending about a mile from where he was first spotted. The increasingly tense situation ended in a Stop and Shop parking lot on Leetes Island Road, with as many as 10 police cruisers arriving at the scene. Police say officers needed to taser Lear, 46, to get him into the custody. In fact, several tasers were fired at Lear, but even that didn’t slow him down.

“We’re trying to determine whether or not it was because he was wearing a number of layers of clothing, or if he was involved in some sort of drug activity beforehand, many of which will give resistance to stunning,” said Morgan.

Ultimately, it took three or four officers to take Lear into custody.

Lear is charged with two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of assault on a police officer, second-degree larceny, and other crimes. He is being held on $250,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New Haven Superior Court on Monday.

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