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Willimantic man in custody after officer is wounded, another person dead

Staff and wire reports

Publication: theday.com

Published 06/25/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 06/26/2013 12:10 AM

State police say a man has been found dead in a Willimantic home where a local officer was shot and wounded by a suspect who was later captured during a manhunt.

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said Willimantic officers were ambushed Tuesday morning at the house while responding to a request for a well-being check. Officials say the wounded officer is in stable condition at a hospital with injuries that aren’t considered life-threatening.

Vance says officers chased the suspect and took him into custody at 12:56 p.m. on Route 32 near an IGA supermarket. State police tactical team members were in place and involved in the chase and apprehension of the man, police said. Vance said the man had a handgun on him, and officers also seized a long gun.

The suspect is identified as Andrew Samuolis, 34, with a last known address of 31 Tunxis Lane in Willimantic. He was taken to Windham Hospital under state police guard. He was treated for dog bites he suffered when he was apprehended. The accused was discharged from the hospital and taken to Troop K in Colchester.

So far, Samuolis has been charged with breach of peace and interfering with an officer, though police said additional charges are pending. He is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond and slated to appear today in Danielson Superior Court.

State police major crime detectives are assisting Willimantic detectives in the ongoing investigation.

Officers went to the house in a residential neighborhood south of downtown Willimantic after 10:30 a.m., said a neighbor, Loretta Schultz. She said she heard three gunshots after police went inside the home, and the suspect ran out the back door into the woods, dressed in camouflage.

While police searched for the man, a news team from WFSB-TV reported seeing the suspect. The crew dropped to the ground when he started firing his gun.

Schultz, 32, said that after the officer was shot, police officers swarmed the neighborhood and told residents to stay inside.

Schultz said a man in his early 30s lived with his father in the house where the officer was shot. She said neighbors were becoming concerned because they hadn’t seen the man’s father in more than a month and no one was mowing the lawn.

“They are really, really quiet people. They keep to themselves,” Schultz said of the father and son. “It’s a very tight block. Everybody knows each other’s business.”

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