A teenager is in critical condition after a police-involved shooting in Wethersfield that closed the Silas Deane Highway in both directions on Saturday night.
According to Sgt. Dwight Washington, two Wethersfield police officers were attempting to make a traffic stop around 6 p.m. in the area of the Silas Deane Highway and Maple Street when there was a collision between the suspect’s vehicle and one of the cruisers.
Troopers said a Wethersfield police officer shot at the driver of a vehicle, later identified as 18-year-old Anthony Jose Vega Cruz, of Wethersfield, as it was veering towards the officer.
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“One of the Wethersfield police officers exited his vehicle at that time the suspect’s vehicle motioned towards that officer,” he said. That’s when the officer fired his gun.
Police said Cruz was taken to the hospital. He is currently in critical condition.
His passenger, a teenager later identified as 18-year-old Stephanie Santiago, of Hartford, was not injured, police said. She was detained by Wethersfield Police and was released a short time later.
No police officers were injured.
Late Saturday night, state police said their investigation was underway and they expected the area to be closed for a couple more hours. The Silas Deane Highway was closed from Maple Street to Mill Street, but has since reopened.
Residents of Signal View Apartments had a front row seat for the scary evening.
Patrick Guzzardi watched out his window as police were trying to stop the fleeing car. “A car comes speeding down like the highway here. It swerved and hit a telephone pole. Shots were fired and that same car drove towards the Valero that way,” he said.
Surrounded by crime tape, two bullet holes are easily seen in the car’s windshield.
Linda Buczynski was in her car just a couple of blocks from her apartment when she got caught in the chaos, “and then I look over to the right and I see an officer get out of his car with a rifle with a scope on it and he comes running by me and I started panicking a little bit I said, “oh my God! What should I do? Should I get out of the car? I was fearing for my own life and my own safety.”
Some neighbors can’t believe what they saw going down in Wethersfield. “This doesn’t happen here. I lived in Wethersfield 25 years. I never seen this. To have it happen right here,” said Jill Brooker.