Officer's gun accidentally discharged in struggle with burglary suspect
A police officer's gun discharged accidentally during a struggle with a suspect Tuesday night, but no one was injured, Deputy Chief Chris Lyddy said Wednesday.
The shot pierced the ground, Lyddy said, as police attempted to take Leonard Morello, 58, into custody after he was suspected to stealing a bicycle from an unlocked Old Post Road garage. Morello, of uncertain address, has an extensive criminal record, police said, with more than 56 prior arrests, including burglary and larceny.
Police received a call around 11:15 p.m. from an Old Post Road resident, who said he saw a man enter his unlocked garage, take the bicycle and head down the driveway. When police arrived and were spotted by Morello, they said he turned around and started back up the driveway. An officer pursued Morello on foot and ordered him to halt, but Morello refused to obey, police said.
During the ensuing struggle with Morello the officer's gun accidentally fired, Lyddy said.
During the investigation at the scene, police found Morello had a credit card case with identification that belonged to another Old Post Road resident. It had apparently been taken from an unlocked car, police said.
Sgt. Suzanne Lussier said several items were seized as evidence from Morello after he was arrested, which will be used to determine if they had also been stolen.
At police headquarters, Morello refused to be fingerprinted, according to the report.
He was charged with sixth-degree larceny, third-degree burglary, refusal to be fingerprinted, and held on a $100,000 bond. He was also charged with failure to appear on an outstanding warrant issued by Hartford police.
Lyddy said the incident remains under investigation.