Woman arrested after gunshots fired in Connecticut police station. Bulletproof glass stopped them
Oct 6, 2023, 6:14 AM | Updated: 2:00 pm
A woman fired several gunshots in the lobby of a Connecticut police station but bulletproof glass prevented anyone from being injured, authorities said Friday as they charged her with attempted murder and other crimes.
The shooting happened at the Bristol Police Department just after 10:30 p.m. Thursday.
The woman, Suzanne Laprise, 51, of nearby Plainville, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and armed with an illegal high-capacity magazine when she fired several shots at the window of the front desk, which was unoccupied at the time, police said in a news release. None of the shots penetrated the bullet-resistant glass, officials said.
Officers responded and tried to negotiate with Laprise, but she fired more shots toward them, the statement said. One officer shot back at her. She put her gun down and officers used a stun gun to subdue her. She was arrested and taken to a hospital for evaluation.
Authorities did not provide details on a motive or say what kind of firearm was used in the shooting.
Bristol police said that officers’ actions were heroic.
“Despite a truly life-threatening incident, they responded with calm, poise, and professionalism, resulting in no loss of life or serious injury to anyone,” police said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The shooting came nearly a year after the community was unnerved by the shooting deaths of two Bristol police officers who were ambushed outside a home in another part of town.
It also came four days after new state gun control laws — the most sweeping restrictions since others were passed after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown — took effect, including tougher penalties for possessing high-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds.
Laprise was released from the hospital into police custody Friday morning and appeared in state court in New Britain, where a judge lowered the $3 million bond set by police to $1 million. She remained detained and is scheduled to return to court Oct. 17.
In court, a representative of the public defender’s office described Laprise as a mother of three adult children who has never been in trouble with the law before and volunteers at her church.
She worked for a state agency that helps developmentally disabled people for more than two decades and has a son with Down syndrome, said David Napierkowski, a “fellow,” or intern, in the public defender’s office. State officials said Laprise retired in 2020.
“This is an ongoing matter. She’s innocent until proven guilty,” Napierkowski told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
Laprise was charged with attempted murder and several gun crimes, including illegal carrying of a firearm under the influence of drugs or alcohol and illegal possession of a high-capacity magazine. She also was charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and breach of peace.
A possible relative of Laprise listed in public records declined to comment. Phone messages were left for other possible relatives of Laprise.
Outside Laprise’s apartment is a doormat that reads “Come back with a warrant,” according to WTIC-TV.
The Connecticut State Police and the Inspector General’s Office are investigating the incident, Bristol police said.
Bristol police asked anyone without essential police business to avoid the area around the department’s headquarters Friday.
On Oct. 12, 2022, Sgt. Dustin DeMonte, Officer Alex Hamzy and Officer Alec Iurato were shot in what police believe was an ambush set up by a 911 call made by the shooter, Nicholas Brutcher.
DeMonte and Hamzy were killed. Iurato, who survived a gunshot wound to his leg, fired a single shot that killed Brutcher. DeMonte and Hamzy were promoted posthumously to lieutenant and sergeant, respectively. Iurato recently return to work.
Associated Press writers Susan Haigh, in Norwich, Conn., and Karen Matthews, in New York, contributed to this report.