I-84 East Closed for Hours After Shooting, Fire | NECN

I-84 East Closed for Hours After Shooting, Fire

I-84 has reopened after the van fire and self-inflicted shooting on the highway this morning. (Published Friday, Aug. 12, 2016)

Interstate 84 East in Hartford was closed for nearly four hours after a man shot himself on the highway, but it has reopened.

The incident was reported around 10:30 a.m. as a vehicle fire on the eastbound side of highway between exits 46 and 48 and shots fired. 

"At this time, we're not sure if that was actual gunfire, if it was ammunition in the van exploding, if it was vehicle parts - tires or batteries exploding -- that's common with these vehicle fires. So we're not sure what it was, but we did get calls for that," Trooper Tyler Weerden said. 

Two Hartford Fire Department personnel and three state troopers arrived at the scene around the same time and saw a burning van and a man with a gun. 

When they tried to speak with the man, he shot himself. Emergency crews then provided medical care and the man was transported to Saint Francis Hospital, where he is still alive, police said. 

"Due to the nature of this incident and out of an abundance of caution, we used a bomb robot to clear the van, not knowing what would be in there," Weerden said. "The van has been cleared. There's no other hazards at this time."

Police have not released the man's name, but said his last-known address is in Bristol, so State police are at the scene and are working with Bristol Police.

"I just want to stress, there's no threat to the public," Weerden said. "As far as we can tell right now, the only shot that was fired was a self-inflicted gunshot."

Emergency dispatch transmissions released on Friday afternoon detail the chaotic scene first responders encountered. 

One recording said a man was walking on the highway, urinating on a Jersey barrier. Another reported a man near the Jersey barrier had a firearm strapped to him.

Then came a dispatch about live rounds going off and a request for police to respond and to shut down the highway. 

Another transmission was for Department of Transportation inspectors to come out and check the bridge because the van under it was on fire. 

Hartford police, Hartford firefighters and state police all responded to the scene and officers rerouters commuters to clear the road.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call 860-534-100 or text TIP711 to 274637 with information.

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