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What we know about the deadly Bristol police shooting

Bristol Police Officers killed
Joe Amon
/
Connecticut Public
Investigators work the area near the vehicles of Bristol Police Officers killed near 310 Redstone Hill Road In Bristol, Connecticut October 13, 2022.

More details have emerged regarding what happened the night two Bristol police officers were shot and killed and a colleague was injured in what officials have described as an ambush.

Officer Alec Iurato was struck by gunfire, returned fire and killed the suspect, Bristol police announced in a Facebook post Oct. 15.

A report from the Office of Inspector General said that Iurato's use of deadly force was justified. Officials also released body-cam footage that offers a glimpse into the chaotic scene.

Iurato underwent surgery and has been released from the hospital. Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy died. Both officers were posthumously promoted following their deaths.

Thousands of police officers from around the country gathered Friday for a joint funeral for Hamzy and DeMonte at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

Here’s what we know about the deadly shooting, as well as what’s happened since and how the public can help:

What happened

Bristol police received a 911 call around 10:30 p.m. Oct. 12 regarding a possible domestic violence incident between two siblings at 310 Redstone Hill Road. State police said the 911 call appeared to have been “a deliberate act to lure law enforcement to the scene” in Bristol.

Officers responded to the scene and ordered one of the brothers, Nathan Brutcher, outside of the house. As he stepped out, gunfire erupted, according to a report from the Office of Inspector General.

The report says that the other brother, Nicholas Brutcher, fired over 80 rounds, attacking the officers from behind.

Hamzy died at the scene. DeMonte was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Iruato was shot in the leg.

Iurato was able to get back to a police vehicle and fired one shot, which killed Nicholas Brutcher.

Video: Watch body-cam footage from the scene (Warning: This footage includes violence and strong language.)

A couple days after the ambush, officials released portions of Iurato's body-cam recording during the chaotic scene. Iurato is heard in the moments after he was shot.

"Shots fired! Shots fired!" Iurato said in the video. "Send everyone!"

He then later said: "Officer shot. Officer shot."

A person could be heard screaming in the background.

Neighborhood resident Schalitda Strong told Connecticut Public that she heard a rapid series of shots.

“I just heard, like a bunch of gunshots. There was a small pause. Bunch more gunshots. And I went into my room because it sounded so close, I actually thought the shooting was happening in our complex,” Strong said.

DeMonte and Hamzy both died of multiple gunshots to their heads and torsos, the state chief medical examiner's office said.

Nicholas Brutcher, 35, died from a gunshot wound to the neck with spinal cord injuries, the medical examiner's office said. His death was classified as a homicide. Nathan Brutcher, 32, was wounded — possibly by his brother — and sent to a hospital for treatment.

Why it happened

Law enforcement officials have released limited information on the events that preceded the killings and haven't released details on a motive. What is expected to be an intensive investigation by state police is underway.

Memorials and vigils

Parts of major highways in the Hartford and New Haven areas were shut down Friday as processions that included dozens of police motorcycles escorted the two officers’ bodies from funeral homes to Rentschler Field in East Hartford for a joint funeral service.

Officers carried the American-flag-draped caskets into the stadium, followed by the officers' families and other Bristol officers and firefighters. Relatives of DeMonte and Hamzy were comforted and escorted to their seats by officers and others.

Mourners streamed into the stadium hours beforehand. Sgt. Greg Dube, of the New Hampshire State Police, said it was important to show support in large numbers after such a tragedy.

“We’re all family,” he said. “We definitely feel their pain. The best way we can show our respect is in strength in numbers.”

“I might not have met them, but I understand it could have easily happened to me or my colleagues. You just can’t take any day for granted,” Dube said.

During the service, Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould said the two officers were the "epitome of excellence."

On Oct. 14, people gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the Bristol Police Department. Throughout the day, a memorial grew outside the department, where flowers and balloons were placed on top of a police car.

At Yankees Stadium, a moment of silence was held at the American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Guardians.

At a vigil on Oct. 13, at Bristol Eastern High School, Police Chief Brian Gould said the department will get through the tragedy as a family. He urged mourners to love and care for each other. Large photos of DeMonte and Hamzy were displayed on stage in the auditorium where the gathering was held.

Bristol Mayor Jeff Caggiano talked with WTNH-TV.

“I think time will heal,” he said.

He appreciates the outpouring of support from Bristol residents, as well as from law enforcement from other cities around Connecticut.

“My heart bleeds,” Caggiano told the TV station. "We’re the all-heart city, and we will have a hole in our heart for generations to come. And as those young families grow up, I just pray for them and [I'm] so sorry for their loss.”

How to help

The Bristol Police Department has released details on ways the public can help the families of the fallen officers. Bristol police said a fundraiser via Fundthefirst.com will benefit Hamzy’s and DeMonte’s families. More than $420,000 had been raised as of Oct. 21. The Bristol Police Union has set up a Bristol Police Heroes Fund with Thomaston Savings Bank. To make a donation to the fund set up at Thomaston Savings Bank, visit any branch or donate online. A secure collection box is also available at the Bristol police department. Learn more here.

Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced it will pay off the mortgage on DeMonte's home. The Tunnel to Towers Fallen First Responder Home Program "pays off mortgages for the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty and leave behind young children."

Tunnel to Towers Chairman and CEO Frank Siller said "these cowardly acts of violence targeting our first responders have to stop."

"Instead of preparing to celebrate the birth of their third child, the Demonte family is now facing a future without their husband and father," Siller said in a statement. "Two children will grow up with only memories, while their youngest sibling was robbed of the opportunity to be held by their dad. I spoke with the family today, and assured them they will be able to stay in the home where they have made so many memories."

About the officers

DeMonte was a 10-year veteran of the Bristol Police Department and co-recipient of his department's 2019 Officer of the Year award. He had worked as a school resource officer. Gould said DeMonte, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Central Connecticut State University, was “very focused on his career and furthering his career and education.” He and his wife were expecting their third child, Gould said.

Hamzy was an eight-year veteran of the department and had gotten many letters of commendation during his tenure on his hometown police force, the chief said. Like DeMonte, Hamzy was an adviser to a police cadet program. “The outpouring of love, support and prayers from so many is deeply appreciated,” Hamzy's family said in a statement.

Iurato, 26, joined the Bristol department in 2018 and has a bachelor’s degree in government, law and national security.

About the shooter

Hearst Connecticut reports that Nicholas Brutcher interacted with officers at a bar just hours before the shooting, but additional details weren’t available.

Nicholas Brutcher was a divorced father of two and a gun, hunting and fishing enthusiast, according to his social media pages. In a photo posted on both brothers’ Facebook pages in 2016, Nicholas Brutcher is pointing a handgun at the camera while others including Nathan Brutcher are holding rifles. Other photos show Nicholas Brutcher with a 10-point deer he shot and with fish he caught. Online state court records list no pending criminal cases or convictions for either brother.

Connecticut Public's Jennifer Ahrens, Joe Amon, Matt Dwyer, Frankie Graziano, Patrick Skahill and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Eric Aasen is executive editor at Connecticut Public, the statewide NPR and PBS service. He leads the local newsroom, including editors, reporters, producers and newscasters, and oversees all local news, including radio, digital and television platforms. Eric joined Connecticut Public in 2022 from KERA, the NPR/PBS member station in Dallas-Fort Worth.