Norwich officer in 'fair condition' after being shot several times during standoffPosted: Updated:
Connecticut State Police said a man that shot a Norwich police officer several times during an 11-hour standoff was found dead in a bathroom from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
State police identified the suspect as 30-year-old Jason Razzino.
The standoff began around 2:45 p.m. after Norwich police said they received word of an armed, suicidal man inside an apartment at the Cedar Glen Apartments on Cedar Road.
When officers arrived, they said Razzino began to fire a rifle and handgun at responding officers, who were in the hallway of the building, and that's when Jonathan Ley, a 14-year veteran, was shot four times, according to state police.
During the standoff, police ordered residents of the apartment building to stay away from doors and windows.
"Officer down. We need more guns. Bring more guns up here," said Steven Bartlett. "It was so chaotic. It seemed like a movie, not something you see in everyday life."
At least one person, identified at 14-year-old Tahra Norman, suffered from an anxiety attack after seeing the officer covered in blood.
"We seen the cop get brought over by the SWAT team, and that's when I had my seizure," Norman said.
Norman said she passed out after seeing Ley on the ground covered in blood. Six police officers came to Ley's aid and helped carry him away from the scene. Norman was taken to a local hospital.
"I just saw his legs, and a whole bunch of people surrounded him," Norman said.
State police said there was some trouble with evacuations Monday night because they didn't want to evacuate people into the line of fire.
At least 20 police cruisers were at the scene, according to several witnesses.
"I was scared, very scared," said neighbor Trish O'Neil.
In addition to Ley being shot, Norwich police said other officers suffered minor injuries during the standoff, but no other officers were injured by bullets.
Ley was immediately brought to Backus Hospital, which was briefly locked down during the standoff, and was then brought to Yale-New Haven Hospital via LIFE STAR. He was listed in critical condition after being shot, police said, but his status has since been upgraded to "fair." He remains in the intensive care unit.
The medical staff at Yale-New Haven Hospital said he has been speaking with family, and other police officers have had a chance to visit him in the hospital.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Norwich Police Chief Louis Fusaro said Ley told officers that he "couldn't wait to get back on the street."
"Thank God he's doing better and we're looking forward to him to continue to progress that way," Fusaro said.
State police said Razzino was found in the bathtub of his apartment with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Razzino posted a series of disturbing messages on Facebook leading up to his suicide, and Dec. 21, he wrote, "ready to just off something." On Christmas, he posted the message, "This was the worst Christmas ever. Happiness seems to be an illusion."
Neighbors told Eyewitness News that Razzino seemed nice and did not bother anyone.
"Friendly, I mean 10 minutes before all this went down, my son was coming downstairs, and he was going upstairs, and he said hello," Bartlett said.
The Connecticut State Police, who were originally assisting Norwich police, have since taken over the investigation.
On Tuesday, investigators spent the day at the crime scene where they were taking inventory of all the casings, shells and bullets found. State police said several shots were fired during the incident; however it is unclear how many total.
In 2004, Ley, who works the station's job fairs and served as a bike officer, was honored for his service with a life-saving award.
"He's got a great personality," Fusaro said. "He's a character. He's a pleasure to be around, which works out very well for recruitment."
According to other veterans, Ley is Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class in the United States Coast Guard Port Security Unit 301, which was located in Cape Cod, MA. He was a Coast Guard reservist and was called to active duty twice, once following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and in 2009 to Kuwait.
"We are all hoping and praying for the best for John," said veteran Carlos Sowell. "He is very highly-respected in our unit."
The mission of the United States Coast Guard Port Security Unit 301 is "anti-terrorism and U.S. force protection operations," with almost all their missions being overseas operations, according to Cmdr. Louis Luba.
"He's an outstanding member of the unit," Luba said. "We're hoping for the best and that he gets well soon."
Officers described him as a family man, but would not discuss if he was married. However, it was learned he has a 2-year-old son.
Monday night, the American Red Cross opened a shelter at the Kelly Middle School for those who had to leave their homes, but they have since been allowed to return to their apartments.
Since the standoff, all residents but the ones right around the suspect's apartment have returned to their homes, state police said. However, the complex remains blocked off.
A crisis management team has been brought in to the department to speak with officers, and officials said a group therapy session will be held so officers can speak about the experience Monday night.
The shooting remains under investigation.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.