Police have obtained an arrest warrant for a man brandishing a knife and exhibiting signs of mental illness who was shot by a Hartford police officer last week in an incident that sent both the man and an officer to the hospital, authorities said.
Hartford police have also sent a preliminary investigative report on the officer-involved shooting to the Firearms Discharge Board of Inquiry's civilian members to review, police said.
Tyrinde Mason Thompson, 22, of Hartford, is suspected of coming at Hartford Police Officer Tyrell Jenkins with at least two knives during a foot chase last Tuesday night that resulted in Jenkins shooting Thompson, police said.
The warrant charges Thompson with first-degree assault and carrying a dangerous weapon. Police haven't arrested Thompson yet because he is in the hospital recovering and they don't want to "interfere with his ongoing recovery," so the Warrant will be served when it is appropriate to do so, Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said.
Police responded to a 7:52 p.m. call on Tuesday from the city's Mobile Crisis Unit of the Department of Mental Health Services about a reported emotionally disturbed person with a mental illness who was acting up, police said at a news conference Wednesday. Thompson was last listed in critical but stable condition, police said.
Officers responded to the call at 102 Andover Street, police said. Officers got there a couple minutes later. Officer Gary Benway, Officer Hector Morales and Officer Jenkins were among the responding officers. A woman at the home identified Thompson as the person who needed help.
Police confronted Thompson in his front yard and said he was "aggressive before fleeing to the back yard and running through other yards on Westminster Street and Palm Street, according to the preliminary report. A foot chase ensued and three police officers cornered him on the driveway of 119 Palm Street, displaying a knife in each hand.
Police asked him to drop the knives, but he scaled a fence to 144 Westminster Street instead, according to the report. Officers followed him and continued to ask him to drop the weapons, but he grabbed a large blue recycling bin and put it between him and Officer Jenkins as he held onto the knives, the report said. Witnesses described one of the knives as a butcher knife.
Officer Jenkins deployed a stun gun, but it didn't work and Thompson pushed the recycling bin at Jenkins and lunged at him wielding the knives.
Officer Jenkins fired at Thompson about three times, hitting him once in the left side of his torso and once in his right arm, according to the report. He was the only officer who fired. The other shot flew past Thompson and hit the back of the garage at 144 Westminster Street, police said.
Officers treated Thompson with first aid at the scene before he was taken to St. Francis Hospital to be treated for the gunshot wound.
Jenkins was transported to St. Francis Hospital to be treated for a broken bone in his left wrist and hand. Police previously said Jenkins may have gotten the injuries from falling during the incident. Jenkins is currently out on injury, but when he returns to duty, he will be placed on administrative leave, as is protocol in Hartford for any officer involved in a shooting.
Hartford Police Chief James Rovella said Jenkins has been on the job at the department for about three years and has had no citizen complaints against him or any administrative disciplinary history. Officers had a matter of minutes to decide how to act in the incident.
Police recovered at least three knives, including one that was concealed and found with his belongings at the hospital.
The crisis center employee who called 911 told police that they received a call from Thompson's mother and that he had a history of running away when crisis center staff had gone to his home in the past for other incidents. They requested a police escort.
There was a large police presence at St. Francis Hospital outside the emergency department on last Tuesday night, where there were at least 15 police cars visible. It's unknown whether they were there because of the shooting incident.
Police said there are three separate investigations. State police major crimes detectives from the western division are handling the investigation into the officer discharging his gun. Hartford Police Department's internal affairs division is also doing an internal investigation and the department is determining whether to take any criminal action against Thompson for coming after the police officers, police said.
Thompson has no criminal history, police said.
As soon as they could document the incident with audio and pictures, police showed what they had to a network of pastors and neighborhood leaders, said Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley, before revealing it to reporters to avoid community unrest.
"If you look beyond Hartford and beyond Connecticut, some of the problems that have happened have been in not being open, not necessarily the content of what's being said but the delay and the timeliness of it, which can create paranoia," Foley said.
He said many in the group are critics of police but their reaction to the presentation was positive.
"When an incident like this happens and in city law enforcement they're going to happen," Foley said, "that's not the time you want to open communications and dialogue with your community. You need to have that foundation laid well in advance."
Hartford police have also asked the Hartford state's attorneys office to investigate the non-fatal shooting involving a police officer firing a gun to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, Rovella said.
Police will send a final report to the Firearms Discharge Board of Inquiry to review once the investigation is completed per the department's protocol.