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Cause Of Death Revealed In Wethersfield Police Shooting

Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public Radio
Joaquin Figueroa stands with a photograph of Anthony Jose "Chulo" Vega Cruz during a protest in Wethersfield on May 3, 2019.

The 18-year old man shot by Wethersfield Police in April died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the results of an autopsy performed on Anthony Jose “Chulo” Vega Cruz.

“The cause of death is gunshot wound to head and the manner of death is homicide,” a spokesperson with the office of Connecticut’s chief medical examiner said Wednesday.

Vega Cruz was the driver of a vehicle pursued by police on the Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield on April 20. On May 3, the chief state’s attorney’s office released dash cam and surveillance video footage of the incident that led to Vega Cruz’s death.

The videos show the chase involved two police vehicles and Vega Cruz’s car.  They show one of the officers as he exited his car on foot, placed himself — gun drawn — in front of Vega Cruz’s vehicle as it was in motion, and fired into the front windshield.

The officer who shot Vega Cruz was identified as Layau Eulizier Jr.

“This officer acted recklessly when he murdered Chulo, an unarmed teenager with his girlfriend, during a traffic stop,” the attorneys representing Vega Cruz’s family, Benjamin Crump and Michael Jefferson, said in a statement shortly after the footage was released.

A female passenger in the car was uninjured. Vega Cruz died two days after the incident.

“A homicide doesn’t mean that it was wrongful and in this particular case, the shooting death was totally justified,” said Eulizier’s attorney Elliot Spector.

The shooting is being investigated by Hartford State’s Attorney Gail P. Hardy.

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