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Week in CT News: Fatal shootings by police, new crime stats, and Ganim takes the stand

Traffic camera screen grab of Hartford officer confrontation with armed man.
Traffic camera
Traffic camera screen grab of Hartford officer confrontation with armed man.

Monday was marred by police shootings

A Wallingford man and a Hartford man were shot and killed by police Monday.

Donald Passmore, 62, of Wallingford, reportedly died early Monday. A preliminary report from the state Office of the Inspector General says two Wallingford officers went to a home on Airline Road at 2:37 a.m. and when they got there, a woman told them her boyfriend shot himself in the face. The report says the officers saw the man laying on a bed.

“They asked Passmore to place his hands in the air and instructed him several times not to touch the gun,” the report reads. “At 2:54 a.m. officers said 'don’t touch the gun!' and 'put your right hand up!'”

The state inspector general’s office, which investigates all police shootings in Connecticut, said there was then a burst of about 10 gunshots.

Passmore was later pronounced dead at a Meriden hospital.

Authorities say a .22-caliber revolver was found on the bed.

The inspector general’s office, the state police, and Wallingford police are investigating the shooting.

Later Monday in Hartford, Jamie Grant was killed.

A preliminary report from state investigators detailed what happened when Hartford police tried to pull over a gray Honda Accord in the city's North End.

“As soon as the vehicle came to a stop, a person, later identified as Jamie Grant, exited the front passenger door and walked to the rear of the vehicle … Grant was holding what appeared to be a firearm in his left hand,” the report reads.

There’s a body cam video attached to the report. After the man raises his left arm, the police officer raises his weapon, video shows. The man runs away, and as he’s crossing a road, he’s stopped by the officers’ gunfire.

Grant was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

That police shooting is also being looked at by state and local investigators.

Crime dropped in Connecticut from 2021 to 2022, state says

The state of Connecticut reported a 4% drop in crime overall as part of its release of 2022 crime statistics.

“This report demonstrates that Connecticut continues to be one of the safest states in the country, with violent and property crimes down from the previous year and below or trending toward pre-pandemic levels,” said Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont in a news release.

“Any instance of crime in our state is unacceptable, and we will continue to improve our public safety record by prioritizing smart on crime policies, gun safety, and support for our most vulnerable residents.”

The state believes that graduating 376 State Troopers in recent years spurred the crime reduction.

Lamont’s administration believes the numbers could improve further thanks to recent laws passed to curb gun violence, like a limit on bulk gun purchases and an effort to strengthen ghost gun restrictions.

But the Connecticut Justice Alliance took issue with Lamont’s statement on the statistics. CTJA Executive Director Christina Quaranta wants the state to address the politicization of crime and its impact on children of color.

“It’s certainly continuing to be unsafe for our Black and Brown youth. In a state that arrests 10-year-olds, the violent crime we should be concerned about is perpetrated by the state. Republicans politicize crime statistics to advocate for incarcerating more of our youth, which just feeds the problem,” Quaranta said in a statement.

Also outlined in the state’s release of annual crime statistics, a 13% reduction in violent crime, according to state numbers.

In Bridgeport, Ganim takes the stand over alleged ballot box abuse

A court case to determine whether the results of a Democratic mayoral primary held in Bridgeport should stand continues just weeks before voters in the city go to the polls for the November general election.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim won the Sept. 12 primary by 251 votes over Democratic challenger John Gomes. After the primary, a video came out alleging ballot-stuffing in Bridgeport. Gomes then sought to have the results of the election changed in court.

On Tuesday, Ganim answered questions about the video in court. He was asked about a person accused of stuffing a city ballot box, city hall worker Wanda Geter-Pataky.“I believe that’s her,” Ganim said. “It looks like her.” “Did you see that she just put in a stack of ballots into the absentee ballot drop box?” an attorney for Gomes named William Bloss asked.

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Ganim said. “I can’t tell exactly what she’s putting in there. It’s something white. Could be envelopes, of course.”

Geter-Pataky wouldn’t confirm in court whether she was the person in the video alleging ballot-stuffing. She took the stand earlier in the hearing and only answered questions about her job, many times invoking the Fifth Amendment.

Geter-Pataky was named by state election enforcement officials in an investigation of absentee ballots involved in the 2019 mayoral primary in Bridgeport.

State election enforcement officials are also investigating the 2023 Bridgeport primary.

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

Frankie Graziano’s career in broadcast journalism continues to evolve.
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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