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Stolen police cruiser crashes into Bristol diner, suspect in custody identified: Police

Jimmie Shoemaker-Gonzalez was arrested on the scene for Larceny in the First Degree and is being held on a $1 million bond.

BRISTOL, Conn. — Bristol police have identified the suspect they placed into custody after he allegedly carjacked a police car and crashed into Palma's Diner following a pursuit.

"It was like a bomb. And exploded and I said okay, and I look back and see the cruiser," said Norman Morneault, who was inside with his wife at the time.

"We were kinda shook up because you know you're sitting in the seat next to it and you don't know what could happen. My wife, her jacket was full of glass," he said.

He said people rushed to help the driver thinking it was an officer, but quickly realized it was not.

"They looked in the window and saw that this isn't actually a cop and started yelling okay that's not a cop, we've got to back away," said Paul Palma of Palma's Diner.

"We went to the other side and there was a gun on the seat," Morneault said.

At around 12:18 p.m. Thursday, Bristol police were investigating a carjacking that occurred in Farmington. A Dodge Durango had crashed near the entrance to an apartment complex at Brookshire Lane and Swamp Scott Road.

Farmington police said the suspect tried unsuccessfully to steal two cars at knifepoint from the complex before succeeding on his third attempt. A 27-year-old man from Farmington received minor injuries during the incident and was transported to Bristol Hospital for treatment. The suspect fled the complex in a stolen 2019 Toyota RAV4 back towards Bristol.

"I check and I just see the cops walking back and forth. It looked like they're searching," said Sharon Camacho of Bristol.

She came home to a crime scene at her apartment complex off Jerome Avenue.

Police said shots were fired during the investigation. Her security camera captured at least one of them.

"I was shocked and scared but not surprised because this is not the first time sadly," Camacho said.

At some point, a police car was stolen and a pursuit began. The stolen police car crashed into Palma's Diner on 100 Stafford Avenue. 

Fortunately, no one was hurt.

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"Ultimately we're thankful that this is the extent of it. The property will be replaced. That's what insurance is for. People's lives are the things that you can't replace," Palma said.

The suspect, identified as Jimmie Shoemaker-Gonzalez, 39, was arrested on the scene for Larceny in the First Degree and is held on a $1 million bond.

Shoemaker-Gonzalez is currently awaiting arraignment at New Britain Superior Court. 

Connecticut State Police and the Office of The Inspector General have taken over the investigation.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Jareliz Diaz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jdiaz@fox61.com


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