In the early morning hours of April 16, 2019, Officer Devin Eaton of the Hamden, CT Police Department was dispatched to an armed robbery at a gas station. While responding to the call, he passed a vehicle that was an identical match to the suspect vehicle described by the caller who reported the robbery.
Eaton conducted a felony stop on a vehicle. Eaton had been told that the driver of the vehicle had just committed a robbery with a handgun. Immediately after Eaton stepped out of his vehicle, the driver of the suspect vehicle suddenly threw the door open and stepped out of his vehicle. Eaton saw a dark object in the driver’s hand which he believed was a gun. Fearing he was about to be shot, he immediately discharged his firearm toward the driver of the suspect vehicle and began seeking cover.
Eaton could hear gunfire and believed the suspect was shooting at him. The gunfire Eaton heard was later determined to have been fired by another officer.
Neither Eaton nor the suspect was struck by gunfire, but a passenger in the suspect’s vehicle was struck non-fatally by a round from Eaton’s gun.
Despite reasonably believing the driver was armed with a gun and that he was being fired upon, Officer Eaton was charged with felony assault and reckless endangerment and he faces years in prison if convicted.