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Week in CT news: Reaction to attack on Israel, Bristol police officers remembered

Miriam Newman who attends the New England Jewish Academy and lives in West Hartford holds an Israeli flag as people gather to stand in solidarity on October 9, 2023.
Dave Wurtzel
Connecticut Public
Miriam Newman who attends the New England Jewish Academy and lives in West Hartford holds an Israeli flag as people gather to stand in solidarity on October 9, 2023.

'Hearts are heavy' in Connecticut’s Jewish community this week

At least four vigils were held at Jewish community centers across Connecticut in the days after Saturday’s attack on Israel by Palestinian militants.

More than 1,000 people were killed in the surprise assault by the militants who inhabit a group called Hamas. And now Israel’s military wants a part of Gaza, a strip of land inhabited by 2.3 million people that’s controlled by Hamas. Northern Gaza has been evacuated in preparation for an invasion.

Speaking at one of the vigils, Connecticut U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said he’d help Israel “win the war.”

"I am helping to put together a package of additional arms; the interceptors for the Iron Dome that are needed to replenish their stockpiles, the precision guided missiles that are necessary for their fighter aircraft, all that Israel needs to win this war," Blumenthal said Monday in West Hartford.

The retaliation sparks concern for civilians living in Gaza, including Palestinians. NPR reports that at least 2,000 of them were killed the last time Israel invaded Gaza in 2014.

“Many innocent people on both sides will suffer as a result of Hamas’s orchestrated attacks, which will only cause more chaos and misery,” Connecticut U.S Senator Chris Murphy said in a statement emailed to Connecticut Public earlier this week.

In sharing news about local community gatherings, the Connecticut chapter of Anti-Defamation League also warned about anti-Semitism in the wake of the attacks.

“Historically, heightened tensions in Israel correlate with a surge in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. and abroad,” ADL Connecticut regional director Stacey Sobel said in an email to Connecticut Public Monday. “ADL Connecticut is working closely with law enforcement, Jewish partners, and elected officials to share information and keep the Jewish community safe.”

The ADL says that when Israel and Hamas were fighting in 2021,anti-semitic incidents in the United States increased by 75 percent.

It’s been one year since two Bristol police officers were killed on the job.

Thursday marked one year since Bristol police officers Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy were killed in what’s been described as an ambush.

The Bristol Police Department held a vigil Thursday at nightfall. Chief Brian Gould told a crowd that how they lived — not how they died — defined their status as heroes. Hamzy’s sister, Donna Hamzy Carroccia, also addressed those in attendance.

“Alex would be so proud of the city and the love that you have all shown our family,” she said. “Your support has validated what he already knew to be true about this city, about this community.”

The state’s Inspector General hasn’t yet released a full report of the incident, butpreliminary reports suggest officers were lured to a domestic violence call on the night of Oct.12, 2022. Hamzy and DeMonte were fatally wounded, while officer Alec Iurato was shot in an attack involving at least 80 rounds of gunfire.

Iurato survived the attack after shooting the gunman.

DeMonte and Hamzy were honored one week after the ambush at a funeral attended by thousands of American police officers and posthumously promoted.

A local group says it’sraising money to build a memorial dedicated to the two officers.

As Bristol police mark one year since their colleagues’ deaths, they’re also dealing with another surprise attack.

State investigators have released video of a woman they identify as Suzanne Laprise, 51, of Plainville shooting at officers inside the department last week. She was reportedly restrained by officers with a stun gun, arrested and taken to the hospital for evaluation. She was released from the hospital into police custody last week and later appeared in state court in New Britain, where a judge lowered the $3 million bond set by police to $1 million. She remained detained and is scheduled to return to court Oct. 17.

The police officers were not shot in the attack, as bulletproof glass prevented them from getting hit.

The US Men’s National Soccer Team comes to East Hartford Saturday.

The U.S. will host the German national soccer team Saturday at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

Coach GreggBerhalter is bringing a star-studded group of 23 to Connecticut, including Christian Pulisic, who already has four goals in eight games this year for the Italian soccer giant AC Milan.

Pulisic has played the most games for the U.S. Men’s National Team of all the men on the roster.

Weston McKennie (Juventus), Tim Weah (Juventus), Sergino Dest (PSV Eindhoven), and goalkeeper Matt Turner (Nottingham Forest) will also represent the Stars and Stripes in East Hartford.

Four-time world champion Germany will have one of its most decorated players on the field. Thomas Muller scored five goals for Germany when it won the FIFA World Cup in 2014. He’s also won 12 club titles with FC Bayern Munich.

The match kicks off Saturday at 3 p.m. The group that runs Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field is encouraging fans to arrive early in anticipation of heavy traffic due to the match and the Hartford Marathon, which is also happening Saturday.

Frankie & Johnny premieres Fridays at 4:44 p.m. during All Things Considered on Connecticut Public Radio. Connecticut Public’s Jennifer Ahrens, Cassandra Basler, Matt Dwyer, Eddy Martinez, Patrick Skahill, and The Associated Press all contributed to this report. 

Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.
John Henry Smith is Connecticut Public’s host of All Things Considered, its flagship afternoon news program. He's proud to be a part of the team that won a regional Emmy Award for The Vote: A Connecticut Conversation. In his 21st year as a professional broadcaster, he’s covered both news and sports.

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