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Video shows Connecticut state trooper shooting man who was holding knives

Footage from Connecticut State Police Trooper Brian Contenta's body camera shows Maxim Nowak holding a knife before he was shot during an incident in Bolton on March 1.
Office of Inspector General
Footage from Connecticut State Police Trooper Brian Contenta's body camera shows Maxim Nowak holding a knife before he was shot during an incident in Bolton on March 1.

Connecticut officials on Tuesday released police body camera video of a state trooper shooting a man who was holding knives several feet away and reported to be experiencing a mental health crisis.

The deadly use of force is under investigation by the state inspector general's office.

Trooper Brian Contenta fired his handgun seven times at the 29-year-old man at a home in Bolton on Friday, according to the video and a preliminary report released by Inspector General Robert Devlin’s office. The man remained hospitalized Tuesday, said officials, who did not disclose his condition.

The trooper fired when the man made brief motions with his left arm several feet away after ignoring multiple commands to drop the knives, the video showed.

Email and social media messages seeking comment were sent to Contenta, the man who was shot and a relative of his on Tuesday. The man who was shot has not been charged with a crime.

State police said Contenta has been placed on administrative duty pending investigations, which is standard procedure after shootings by police. State police declined further comment.

Contenta and two other troopers went to the home, about 14 miles (23 kilometers) east of Hartford, shortly after 2 p.m. on a report that the man was experiencing a mental health crisis, threatening to harm himself and others, and waving a knife, according to the inspector general's report.

The man had a knife in each hand when troopers arrived, the report said. The video shows the troopers telling him to drop the knife numerous times.

“C’mon buddy, you know me,” one of the troopers said. “Drop the knife. Drop the knife buddy."

When the man made a brief, circular motion with his left arm, Trooper Doug Bernier fired his Taser and Contenta shot his handgun at the man, according to the one-minute video clip and the report.

At the time, the man was standing at the end of a short hallway leading into the kitchen, several feet away from the two troopers. The third trooper appeared to be in the kitchen but is not seen on the video.

The inspector general's office is investigating whether the shooting was justified.

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