Two Bristol police officers killed, one severely injured in suspected ambush

An+honor+guard+delivers+the+body+of+Bristol+police+officer+Alex+Hamzy%2C+Bristol%2C+Conn.%2C+Oct.+14.%2C+2022.

Photo courtesy of @joeamonct on Instagram.

An honor guard delivers the body of Bristol police officer Alex Hamzy, Bristol, Conn., Oct. 14., 2022.

Lillian Newton, Politics Editor

At 10:29 p.m. on Wednesday evening, officers from the Bristol, Conn. police department responded to a 911 call reporting a domestic dispute between two siblings. Immediately upon arriving on the scene, officers found the suspect outside 310 Redstone Hill Rd., at which time a gunfight was initiated.

Two of the Bristol police officers were shot and killed. A third was severely wounded and transported to the hospital where he underwent surgery.

“Words cannot express the sadness and grief that brings me before you this morning,” said Police Chief Brian Gould early on Thursday. “Sadly, we lost two exceptional Bristol Police Officers and a third was seriously injured as a result of senseless violence.”

Officer Alex Hamzy, 34, died at the scene. Hamzy was hired by the Bristol Police department in 2014 and worked in the patrol division. Hamzy graduated from Bristol High School in 2006, and was born and raised in the city. He was assigned to the Central Region Emergency Response Team and served as an advisor to the Bristol Police Explorer Cadet Program. According to Gould, Hamzy received numerous letters of commendation and recognition throughout his career.

Sgt. Dustin Demonte, 35, was pronounced dead at Bristol Hospital. Demonte served the Bristol Police Department since 2012; he is survived by his wife and his two children, with a third on the way. Demonte, like Hamzy, was an advisor for the Bristol Police Explorer Cadet Program and a resource officer at Green-Hills and West Bristol schools. Gould noted that Demonte was incredibly focused on furthering both his career and education; he had obtained his bachelor’s degree through Central Connecticut State University in criminology with a minor in psychology.

Officer Alec Iurato, 26, was severely injured by a gunshot wound. He underwent surgery and is now recovering. Iurato was hired in 2018 and is assigned to the patrol division.

Upon being shot at, Iurato returned fire, killing suspect Nicholas Brutcher, 35, and injuring his brother Nathan Brutcher, 32. It is unclear at this time if Nathan Brutcher is a suspect.

According to a press release given by state police, “Preliminary information appears to point to the 911 call being a deliberate act to lure law enforcement to the scene.”

Earlier in the evening, police had been called to the bar Bleachers, where police first came in contact with the suspect. The interaction ended with a car, belonging to one of the Brutcher brothers, being towed from the bar.

In a statement, the Connecticut State Police Union described the event as a “cowardly act of violence,” noting that the officers who arrived on the scene were “senselessly ambushed for simply protecting and defending others.”

Chancellor Steven Kaplan wrote in a message to the university community, “It has been heartbreaking to learn about the two police officers who were killed, and a third who was injured, in the line of duty late last night in Bristol. Conn… it is particularly distressing when a tragedy like this directly impacts a nearby police department where some of our graduates serve with great distinction.”

Kaplan ended the statement, writing, “…let us always express our appreciation for all law enforcement members who passionately give themselves to help others in their time of need. They are the true heroes among us.”

Governor Ned Lamont has ordered all U.S. and state flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the two fallen officers, saying “This is a senseless tragedy, and my prayers are with their families, loved ones, and fellow officers.”

This incident occurred during an especially violent week for police in the United States. Greenville, Miss. Police Department Detective Myiesha Stewart was killed and several others were injured in a gunfight on Tuesday night as officers similarly responded to a call. Earlier Wednesday morning, three officers from Philadelphia were shot and wounded as a SWAT team attempted to arrest an individual for a homicide charge while two police officers in Decatur, Ill., were shot and wounded during a traffic stop by a motorist who later died after officers returned fire. Late Wednesday, a sheriff deputy in central Florida was shot in the chest while investigating a family disturbance; his bulletproof vest saved his life.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also reported that intentional killings of law enforcement officers has reached a 20-year high. According to preliminary year-end data received by CNN from the agency, 73 officers died in felonious killings in the line of duty in 2021. Excluding the Sept. 11 attacks, this is the highest recorded total by the FBI since 1995. The FBI further noted that an increasing number of homicides were committed with a gun.