Officer Down: Matthew Morelli
Officer Down: Matthew Morelli - [Norwalk, Connecticut]
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Incident Details: Officer Matt Morelli was shot and killed while investigating suspicious activity in a parking lot on Lubrano Street at approximately 12:30 am. He had radioed dispatchers that he was exiting his patrol car. Other officers responded to the area after he failed to respond to radio calls and located his body.
Officer Morelli had served with the agency for 11 years. He had previously served as an intelligence analyst as a US Marine.
End of Watch: Friday, March 21, 2008
Conn. officer fatally shot
By John Christoffersen
Associated Press Writer
NORWALK, Conn. — Police conducted a manhunt Friday after a veteran Norwalk police officer was shot and killed while investigating what authorities describe as a suspicious incident.
Officials in the southwestern Connecticut city have not released the officer's name. Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia and Police Chief Harry W. Rilling told reporters that the incident happened at 12:26 a.m. in a secluded parking lot in south Norwalk.
"The uniformed officer was on patrol and had stepped out on Lubrano Place to investigate suspicious activity to the rear of the parking lot," Lt. Paul Resnick, the police department spokesman said.
Officers responding to a request for backup found the officer dead, Resnick said. Weapons, including the officer's gun, were recovered from the scene.
"It's a shock and tragedy anytime you have an officer killed in the line of duty," Resnick said.
As to whether there was just one or several suspects or whether the officer was able to return fire before he was killed, Resnick said that "at this point I can't go there" because the investigation was ongoing.
Police blocked off several streets and were using canine units to search the area Friday morning. Several area departments are assisting and police helicopters from Westchester County, N.Y., and New York City were being used.
Resnick said the helicopters were on the scene "post haste, using infrared equipment, looking for the heat signature of possible suspects."
Leo Ramos, 24, who recently moved to the residential neighborhood and was out walking his dog Friday morning, said the helicopter woke his mother.
"It's terrifying," he said. "To know a cop got shot around the corner from me is a little scary."
Angela Cappabianca, 21, another recent arrival, said officers had questioned everyone in the neighborhood.
"I've heard it's kind of not safe around here," she said. "To know a cop was shot around here makes me kind of nervous."
The death is the first fatality in the line of duty in the Norwalk police department in 26 years, and the fifth in the department's 94-year history, Resnick said.
The last officer killed was Officer Marco Carias on March 20, 1982.