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Use of deadly force justified in Norwich incident: Report

The suspect fired a total of 18 rounds at the officer in October 2021.

NORWICH, Conn. — A report prepared by Connecticut's Office of Inspector General said a Norwich police officer's use of deadly force was justified in an incident where a suspect fired multiple rounds at the officer's cruiser. Neither the officer nor the suspect was injured.

Norwich Police Officer Scott Dupointe was on duty the night of On Oct. 26, 2021, when he responded to a 911 call reporting gunshots in the city. When he arrived at the scene, he saw a man later identified as Andrew O’Lone who immediately fired multiple shots at the officer, striking his cruiser but missing the officer. Officials said in the report, Dupointe then fired his service pistol toward O’Lone as O’Lone fled the scene. No one was struck by gunfire. 

Attorney and former Hartford officer Elliot Spector who has worked on use of force cases since the early 90s. “The question is based on the facts perceived by the officer at the time they used force was it objectively reasonable?” 

“This individual posed a risk to others in the community. The officer responded to a shooting incident and the subject fired approximately 18 shots at him with a rifle. It’s obviously a very frightening situation for a police officer. The police officer in order to save his life believed it was necessary to use deadly force and he fired two shots I believe the report said within six or seven seconds after the rifle was shot at him so he was certainly within the zone of danger.” 

According to the report, Dupointe believed O’Lone was a threat to himself and members of the community. Officials said Dupointe was justified in using deadly force.

The report went into detail how O'Lone was 25 yards from the officer and holding an AR-15 style rifle, O’Lone crossed in front of the police cruiser and immediately fired multiple shots in the direction of Officer Dupointe, nearly striking him and causing extensive damage to the vehicle. 

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Shots went through the windshield and the passenger window, and also hit the engine block. O’Lone then turned toward Dupointe and walked past him, dropping the rifle on the ground. Dupointe ducked down, and looked over the dashboard to keep an eye on O’Lone. Dupointe saw O’Lone in front of the vehicle and walking towards him and tried to drive the cruiser into the suspect. But, the SUV was disabled by the gunfire and the transmission would not engage. 

As O’Lone got within a few feet of the vehicle, Dupointe drew his service pistol and opened the door to get out of the vehicle with the intent to stop O’Lone from shooting. As he got out, he slipped and fell onto the wet road injuring his hip and elbow. He lost sight of O’Lone but then saw him drop the rifle into a driveway. Dupointe then turned and fired his service pistol two times toward O’Lone as O’Lone fled the scene west on Dunham Street towards Elizabeth Street. Neither Officer Dupointe nor Mr. O’Lone was struck by gunfire.

Videos from Dupointe's cruiser show O'Lone firing his weapon at the cruiser. 

Dupointe’s disabled cruiser was rolling and he had to briefly run to catch up to it. He then radioed dispatch that he had been shot at and described the assailant as a man with a brown jacket, black face mask and a long gun. He was able to bring the vehicle to a stop at Wilmot Avenue. Dozens of officers from various agencies responded to the scene including other officers from Norwich and the Connecticut State Police. 

Detectives recovered numerous spent cartridge casings in the area of the incident. Nearby homes were hit as well. 

At about 10:45 p.m., a woman identifying herself as Susan O’Lone called the Norwich Police Department and said her son was mentally ill and had just shot at police. 

She said she lived in Columbia, Maryland, and that her son’s name was Andrew O’Lone. She said her son had called her and told her that he shot at police and wanted to turn himself in. She later added in a written statement that he dropped the gun, mask, and jacket after the shooting and walked home. O’Lone turned himself in at his nearby residence a short time later.

“The Supreme Court has said and it’s been the law since 1985, if the officer has reason to believe that the subject poses a risk of serious injury or death then the officer can respond with deadly force and that certanily is the case here and it’s consistent with the inspector general’s findings," said Spector.

Investigators determined that had Dupointe not ducked down, he stood a great chance of being struck by one of the bullets fired by O’Lone. 

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said the weapon was last sold in June 2015 from a pawn shop in Jacksonville, North Carolina that is no longer in business. The rifle qualifies as an “assault weapon” under Connecticut law and is illegal to posses in Connecticut. Detectives removed an empty 30-round magazine, which is also illegal under Connecticut law.

Doug Stewart is the Senior Digital Content Producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at dstewart@fox61.com.

Samaia Hernandez is a reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at shernandez@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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