State officials release graphic body camera footage, identify man shot by West Hartford Police
Body camera footage released by the state Inspector General’s office shows the violent moments leading up to West Hartford Officer Andrew Teeter fatally shooting 34-year-old Mike Alexander-Garcia on Tuesday.
Teeter’s body camera shows him getting into a Toyota RAV4 as he yells at his police dog to confront Alexander-Garcia in the driver’s seat, yelling "get him!"
“Please no!” Alexander-Garcia says as the dog appears to bite his arm. “He’s gonna kill me!”
The state Inspector General's office said in a releaseon Friday that it all started when West Hartford Police were trying to stop a stolen Hyundai Elantra.
“The Hyundai struck a silver BMW and then a blue Honda Pilot,” the release said.
Lyle Solsbury and Alexander-Garcia fled the disabled Hyundai. Officers arrested Solsbury while Alexander-Garcia fled on foot and tried to steal two cars along New Britain Avenue, officials said. Finally, Alexander-Garcia entered a Toyota RAV4 at a service bay of Town Fair Tire.
The Inspector General said “Despite the K-9 and Officer Teeter being in the vehicle struggling with Alexander-Garcia, he backed out of the garage and drove out of the Town Fair Tire parking lot striking two vehicles.” Dash camera footage from a responding police car released by officials shows the RAV4 pulling out of the service garage and hitting the K-9 police SUV.
The body camera footage includes audio of that exchange.
“Don’t do it!” Teeter yells. “Open the [expletive] door! Sir, I’m gonna [expletive] shoot you! Stop!”
“Let me out! Please, please officer!” Alexander-Garcia said as he tries to move away from Teeter and the dog in the passenger seat. Footage appears to show Teeter hitting him with the gun.
“I’m gonna shoot you!” Teeter said.
The camera is intermittently obscured by the dog, but appears to show Teeter shooting Alexander-Garcia in the back and drawing blood, pausing and grabbing his shoulder, and then Teeter firing again before the footage cuts out.
The pop of gunshots can also be heard on audio from the responder’s dashboard camera.
“As Alexander-Garcia continued to drive, Officer Teeter discharged his weapon multiple times striking Alexander-Garcia in the torso,” the release said, and the Toyota crashed into a utility pole across the street from the service garage.
Video from the patrol supervisor’s dashboard camerashows the Toyota crashed onto the pole with the police dog and Officer Teeter inside.
The state Inspector General's office says Alexander-Garcia died at the hospital. Teeter suffered a broken rib and cuts to his head.
“The investigation is continuing,” wrote Inspector General Robert J. Devlin Jr, who is tasked with issuing Use of Force reports for police shootings and determining whether prosecution would be required.
According to the West Hartford Police Department’s use of force policy, officers must issue verbal commands and warnings prior to the use of force, except in circumstances where an officer has to make a split-second decision.
A reasonable amount of force is permitted to “prevent the escape from custody, or to effect a lawful arrest” of someone an officer reasonably believes to have committed an offense. However, that authorized use of force ends when there is no more resistance.
Deadly force is permitted if it protects officers from what they perceive to be deadly force. It may also be used to arrest someone for a felony crime or an attempted felony crime, if the officer has warned of deadly force and they believe the person still a threat.
Warning: Video below contains graphic content and may be disturbing.