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Hartford officer justified in using deadly force against Shamar Ogman: Report

The Office of the Inspector General's report said Ogman's behavior the night he was fatally shot could arguably fall into a "suicide by cop" situation.

HARTFORD, Conn. — A Hartford officer's use of deadly force against a man in 2020 was justified, a new report by the Office of the Inspector General concluded.

The shooting happened after police were called to Gilman Street around 9 p.m. on Dec. 26. 

When they got to the scene, police said they found 30-year-old Hartford resident Shamar Ogman, who reportedly displayed both a handgun and a rifle. 

Officials said Ogman ignored numerous commands to drop the weapons and ran from the police. The Inspector General's report, which was released Wednesday, said Ogman stood behind a nearby dumpster in the parking lot adjacent to the scene. Using parked cars as cover, officers approached him and continued to direct him to drop his guns. 

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The report stated Ogman yelled at police and said 'shoot me! Kill me! Come on, let's do this!'

It went on to state Officer Ashley Martinez heard Ogman rack the rifle he was holding and saw him raise it up and point it directly at another officer. She believed Ogman was going to shoot or kill or severely injure others on scene.

Ogman, who was struck in the neck, was dead in a manner of minutes after police arrived at the scene, but the investigation was just beginning. 

Inspector General Robert Devin Jr. concluded Officer Martinez's was justified in the way 'deadly physical force was used upon another person when the officer reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend the officer or at third person.'

Family members spoke to FOX61 following the incident saying Ogman suffered from mental issues following some time spent in jail previously on weapons charges. 

Ogman's aunt said last year in an exclusive interview that she wondered if this could have been prevented had she answered his text minutes before the incident.

"I feel like I wasn’t there to be his lifesaver. Who knows if I would’ve answered the phone. Ten times out of ten I would’ve just said okay Pookie, come to my house," said Angel Ogman-Hubbard, Ogman's aunt.

Just a week and a half before his death, Ogman had been arrested by the Meriden Police Department and faced another weapons charge. 

The report said three days before the fatal shooting, Ogman had been fired from his job after an incident with a supervisor. The report also detailed relationship issues with a girlfriend at the time, and that the holiday season was a "depressing time" for him due to memories of his daughter who died of an asthma attack in 2015. 

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The report stated that on the night of Dec. 26, Ogman was at home with his girlfriend and other friends, along with two children. Those interviewed in the report stated Ogman had received a phone call in which "his demeanor completely changed".

Ogman then picked up two guns - a tan-colored rifle and a black semi-automatic pistol with a blue scope - and walked outside. A friend followed, trying to get him to put the guns down. 

The friend stated in the report that he was "trying to talk to Shamar [Ogman]" but he kept control of the guns. 

Ogman then made troubling statements about self-harm, saying he "didn't want to go back to jail," the friend said in the report. 

Those inside the house then called 911. On the tapes, the callers tell dispatch that children were inside the house, including a 1-year-old.

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According to officers who were at the scene, Ogman tried walking away from police while also "screaming at officers" to shoot him, and that he wasn't going to drop the guns. 

Ogman then ran to an adjacent parking lot on Winship Street. Police followed, taking up defensive positions, trying to give verbal commands still to Ogman to drop his weapons. A K-9 was also brought to the scene. 

The report stated that after hearing the K-9 barking, Ogman took a standing supported position on the dumpster and it appeared he was aiming the rifle at officers on the west side of the lot. 

Officer Martinez then fired one shot, and Ogman was struck. 

The guns recovered at the scene were identified as a facsimile FN Scar rifle, a magazine containing five live .223 caliber rounds, and a facsimile Glock handgun. 

The family at the time said that if police had taken some extra time to assess the situation to understand his emotional state. 

“Mental health did play a role with a lot of his stress factors on not understanding what was going on in his mind," Angel Ogman-Hubbard, Ogman's aunt, told FOX61 after the death. 

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The Inspector General's report concluded that Ogman's situation could be argued as "suicide by cop" where a person engages in behavior that poses a risk of death or serious injury to others with the intent to get responding law enforcement to use force against them. 

The report went on to say that Hartford officers were confronted with an armed person who was moving around a residential neighborhood, after dark, and aiming and racking a rifle. 

The report concluded that Martinez's actions were justified as she believed it was necessary to prevent Ogman's imminent use of deadly force, and that repeated, verbal commands were ignored. 

The Inspector General's report went on to say that there are situations like Ogman's where a subject is contained to a degree where it may be possible to attempt a dialogue with the person without jeopardizing officer or public safety. The report highlighted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies that have also done substantial research in the area. 

While not always applicable in situations like Ogman's, the report said that these situations deserve more study and training. 

"As the studies make clear, the most effective weapon in some suicide by cop situations is communication," the report concluded.

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Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jglatz@fox61.com. 


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