Sat. May 25th, 2024

A Connecticut police department that lost two officers during an ambush-style attack almost a year ago once again was in the crosshairs Thursday when officials say a woman opened fire inside the police station lobby, according to reports.

No one was wounded by the gunfire. 51-year-old Suzanne Laprise a former state agency employee, was taken to the hospital after being shocked with a stun gun by officers, Deputy Police Chief Mark Morello said.

Laprise was released from the hospital and arraigned Friday in state Superior Court in New Britain on more than a half-dozen charges, including criminal attempt to commit murder, illegally carrying firearms while under the influence and illegal possession of a large-capacity magazine, Morello said.

She initially was held in lieu of $3 million bail, but Judge Maureen M. Keegan lowered the amount to $1 million during the arraignment. But Keegan said Laprise would need to come up with $300,000 of the figure herself to be released. Keegan said she set the bail for the safety of others.

Laprise’s public defender David Napierkowski told the court that his client had never been trouble with the law and had a 32-year-old son with Down syndrome. He said she has worked to help others with Down syndrome and has volunteered at church and a food pantry.

Laprise is a former employee of the state Department of Developmental Services, an agency that helps people with disabilities, a state official confirmed Friday. She retired from the agency in 2020 after working there for 12 years, the official said.

According to Morello, Laprise came alone to the police station at 131 N. Main St. shortly after 10:30 p.m. Thursday and “fired multiple rounds into the front lobby desk office window, which was unoccupied at the time.”

The rounds did not penetrate the bullet-resistant glass, but the gunfire got the attention of nearby officers who responded and “made contact with the suspect” by trying to negotiate with her to put down the gun, Morello said.

Laprise ignored officers’ commands and fired more rounds toward them, Morello said. One officer returned fire, but the projectiles again were stopped by the bullet-resistant glass.

When she put down the gun, police shocked her with a stun gun and took her into custody, Morello said. She wasn’t seriously injured, he said, but was taken to the hospital to be evaluated. She later was released and was taken to the Bristol Police Department to be processed.

Laprise’s other charges were illegal discharge of a firearm, criminal use of a weapon, violation of pistol permit requirements, first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree breach of peace.

Central District Major Crimes detectives from the Connecticut State Police will investigate the shots-fired incident along with the inspector general, who investigates all officer-involved shootings, Morello said.

Bristol officers were fired on with a more tragic outcome less than a year ago. On Oct. 12, 2022, Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy, were fatally shot in an ambush when responding to a domestic violence call, shaking the small city to its core.

“You guys have been through enough of this nonsense,” one person said on the police department’s Facebook page after Thursday’s shots-fired incident. “I pray for your department and all police officers that put the uniform on.”

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born | buffygunner@illicitdeeds.com

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