WATERBURY, Ct. — A Waterbury police officer is recovering after getting shot by friendly fire while responding to a stolen vehicle investigation Tuesday, according to police.
Waterbury officers were in the process of taking a suspect into custody for auto theft when they noticed two SUVs revving their engines and driving at a high speed toward their location, police said. The SUVs, which later turned out to be stolen, crashed into several police units, NBC Connecticut reported.
During the incident, Officer Garrett Pagel, a five-year veteran assigned to the street crimes unit, fired his weapon and struck Officer Charles Mauriello, said Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo. Mauriello is a six-year veteran officer assigned to the auto crimes task force, according to the chief.
“The officer was attempting to stop the threat that he was placed in,” said Connecticut State Police Sgt. Josef Duva. “The intended target was for him to stop that threat as it was progressing.”
Duva said the scene was “very fluid” and the vehicles were driving in a “very aggressive manner towards the officers.”
Waterbury police officials said Mauriello was taken to Saint Mary’s Hospital and is in stable condition after being shot in the chest. Fortunately, he was wearing body armor, which saved his life, according to authorities.
Police said Mauriello was subsequently released from the hospital and is recovering at home.
Pagel is currently on paid administrative leave, police said.
Officer Mark Sharoh was in one of the police units that was rammed during the vehicular assault. He suffered a concussion and was able to recover at home, police said.
A total of six suspects are in custody, including several who were found in the area of Waterbury-Oxford Airport, NBC reported.
State police were called to investigate the shooting, while Waterbury police will handle the stolen vehicle investigation.