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Conn. officer struck by car, seriously injured

The injured officer underwent nine hours of surgery Monday

By David Owens, Shawn Beals and Russell Blair
The Hartford Courant

NEW BRITAIN, Conn.  Police say they have obtained an arrest warrant charging a local man with theft of a motor vehicle in connection with an incident that left a city police officer with grievous injuries.

Police are looking for Jaheem Snype, 19, whose last known address was 259 Grove St. The blue 2011 Hyundai Sonata Snype is accused of stealing about 10 p.m. was used 30 minutes later to hit, run over and drag about 100 feet a police officer investigating the motor vehicle theft.

The injured officer underwent nine hours of surgery Monday at a Hartford trauma center.

Snype is described as a black man, 5-feet-8, 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He has a scar on his left elbow and a tattoo on his right hand, police said.

The injured officer was listed in stable condition Monday and his colleagues have been working around the clock to find those responsible while at the same time praying for their colleague's full recovery, New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said Monday.

"Our officers have been working non-stop and we will continue to do so," Wardwell said.

The arrest warrant police obtained Monday is only for the auto theft. Police continue to seek evidence about who was driving, Wardwell said. "This is an ongoing active investigation," he said.

The officer was injured about 10:30 p.m. Sunday. The officer found the car behind 56 Wilcox St. and was approaching it when it struck him, ran over him and dragged him down a driveway and into Wilcox Street. The car then fled north, leaving the badly injured officer lying in the road.

Other officers arrived quickly, found the injured officer and called for a paramedic.

Edgardo Rivera, 12, said he saw the officer get hit and dragged. He said he ran into his house to tell his mother, and said his family gave towels to the officers trying to help the injured officer.

Police searched for the car through the night and then during a press briefing Monday morning got word that the car had been spotted on Sandy Brook Drive, about half a mile from where the officer was injured. Police flooded out of the briefing, went to Sandy Brook Drive and found the car unoccupied. It was taken away on a flatbed truck to be searched for evidence.

"We are hopeful, and were given some news ... the officer's likelihood of recovery is very good," Wardwell said at the briefing, flanked by officers and New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart. "He is expected to recover although his injuries are serious."

"This officer was doing his job, just as he would any day, and he does his job well, and this is the risk that each of these officers face, day in and day out," Wardwell said.

The car had originally been stolen from the area of North and Willow streets, police said.

Wardwell declined to elaborate on the officer's injuries, but was shaken as he talked about what the officer had endured.

"He's gonna survive," Wardwell said Monday evening. "They tell us he's going to recover, which is awesome. It's going to be a long road." The officer was operated on at a trauma center in Hartford and will likely require additional surgeries as he continues to recover, Wardwell and Stewart said. Police did not release the officer's name on Monday.

New Britain police have heard from other police departments and law enforcement agencies as well as New Britain residents concerned about the officer.

"We've gotten well wishes from so many other law enforcement agencies, citizens, just a lot of folks sending good thoughts and prayers to the officer," Wardwell said.

Copyright 2014 The Hartford Courant


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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