Connecticut officer involved in 2019 fatal shooting resigns

Wethersfield officer Layau Eulizier fired through the windshield of a car coming at him in April 2019, killing Anthony Vega Cruz.

News 12 Staff

Jun 4, 2020, 7:13 PM

Updated 1,413 days ago

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Connecticut officer involved in 2019 fatal shooting resigns
An officer who was cleared of wrongdoing in a fatal shooting last year of an 18-year-old driver has resigned from a central Connecticut police department.
Wethersfield officer Layau Eulizier fired through the windshield of a car coming at him in April 2019, killing Anthony Vega Cruz. A state prosecutor determined last month that Eulizier believed the car was about to hit him and that his life was in danger, a ruling that upset activists who criticized the shooting as a use of excessive force.
In a resignation letter, Eulizier said he acted in self-defense and he was disappointed he had not returned to patrol duty, WNPR reported Thursday. He said he hopes he work for another agency.
"I have made the difficult decision to resign from my position as police officer for the town of Wethersfield and focus on my master's degree in order to strengthen my skills and hopefully continue a career in law enforcement elsewhere," Eulizier wrote.
Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran said Eulizier's resignation took effect April 15.
"The Hartford State's Attorney justified the officer's actions, but we still lost a good officer who had been subjected to unjustified criticism for saving his own life and others on the street that day," Cetran told the Hartford Courant.
Vega-Cruz's family and the NAACP had called for Eulizier to be arrested, but Hartford State's Attorney Gail Hardy concluded in her March 18 report that the shooting was justified. An attorney for Vega-Cruz's family said they intended to pursue civil lawsuits against the officer and the police department.
Police said Vega Cruz drove at Eulizier after fleeing a traffic stop and leading police on a brief chase. Officers were trying to pull over Vega Cruz because the license plates on his car were not registered to that vehicle, officials said.
Eulizier is black, while Vega Cruz was Hispanic.
Police dashcam and business surveillance videos show Eulizier running in front of the car while it is stopped briefly during the chase. Eulizier yells, "Show me your hands," several times and fires two shots through the windshield when the teenager drives at him.
Vega Cruz died two days later at a hospital, while a passenger, his 18-year-old girlfriend, was not injured.
 


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