NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven Officers and Fire Department EMS responded to a call of a suicidal man around 10 a.m. and encountered a man who had a knife and charged at an officer in the building’s lobby, leading to the officer-involved shooting.
A heavy police presence swarmed the Ruppolo Complex at 480 Ferry Street in New Haven Tuesday morning.
“I’m sitting right there watching this,” said Theresa Peeler, who witnessed the incident. “Scared the (expletive) out of me. I started screaming. I didn’t know what to do. Only thing I saw was fire coming out of the cop’s gun.”
Theresa Peeler said her ears are still ringing from the gunfire. She was inside the lobby and witnessed at close range the chaos. Officials said a New Haven police officer fired on a knife-wielding man after he charged the officers.
“Guy came down off the elevators, cops were standing there,” Peeler said. “And his mother told him to put the knife down. He charged at the cops with it and they shot him twice.”
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State Police said Roberto Orsini-Rodriguez was struck by the gunfire. He’s listed in critical but stable condition.
State Police is handling the investigation and did not identify the officer who fired. Multiple sources inside the New Haven Police Department have confirmed to News 8 that Officer Brian Jackson is the one who pulled his sidearm and fired several shots.
“I just heard it. Heard two shots,” said Niea Dennis, who was inside her apartment in the building. “Thought it was nothing because it sounded like two taps. I didn’t know what it was.”
The Ruppolo complex is owned by the Housing Authority of New Haven and is designated for elderly and disabled residents. Witnesses report that Orsini-Rodriguez lives in the complex and that the man’s mother mentioned he was off his medication.
“She said he’d been off medication because he didn’t want to take it or nothing,” She can’t do nothing. She said she’s tried.”
Officer Jackson was placed on desk duty, which is standard procedure while investigating a police-involved shooting.
The Connecticut State Police will continue the investigation.