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This is my home town. A real eye opening experience.....

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Updated: January 1st, 2005 11:57:11 AM

Officer Shot Answering Domestic Violence Call in Connecticut Home, Killed After Standoff
Former Corrections Officer, Suspect, Turned Gun on Himself
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ASSOCIATED PRESS



NEWINGTON, Conn. (AP) -- A former state corrections officer shot and killed a police officer in a domestic violence call that turned into an ambush, then turned the gun on himself after a standoff with police.

Police found the bodies Friday afternoon, about 14 hours after the standoff began Thursday night, but it was unclear when the gunman killed himself. Police last had contact with him about 3 a.m.

When Newington police Officer Peter Lavery and another officer responded to a domestic violence call at the house, a woman answered the door and told the officers that a man was in her basement, police said.

When the officers walked down the stairs, the man opened fire with an assault weapon, striking Lavery at least once, police said. The other officer and the woman escaped and called for assistance.

Police were not identifying the couple, but neighbors identified the shooter as Bruce A. Carrier, a fired corrections officer with a criminal record. They said he had a tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend, Mary Fletcher.

``She has been hurt before,'' Carol Nelson, one of Fletcher's friends, told The Herald of New Britain. ``She had a terrible black eye. She said she fell down the stairs, but I didn't find out until later that it was him that did it.''

State and area police rushed to the Hartford suburb. Leonard Boyle, state public safety commissioner, said once a state police tactical team entered the first floor Thursday night, it became clear that Lavery was probably dead.

Some neighbors were evacuated overnight on school buses. Sue Erwin, who lives nearby but was not among those evacuated, said she heard shots and booms throughout the night. She also saw other neighbors coughing as they left their homes late Thursday.

``It's a devastating thing for the neighborhood,'' said Chris Clafey.

For much of Friday afternoon, the tactical team was on the first floor of the home where the siege took place; the gunman and his hostage were holed up in the basement. Police used various methods to force the gunman out, including tear gas and water from a hose.

Carrier worked as a state prison guard from 1989 to 1999. He was fired for employee misconduct, Stacy Smith, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Correction, told The Hartford Courant. Details were not available Friday because state offices were closed.

Boyle said the incident is still under investigation.

Boyle said Lavery received at least one gunshot wound. He did not say whether the officer was wearing a bulletproof vest. The state medical examiner's officer is determining the cause of death.

Lavery, 47, had been on the Newington force for more than 17 years. He was married with two adult children. He is believed to be the first Newington officer killed in the line of duty.

``The department is very depressed and distraught at this time. He was well-loved and will be missed greatly,'' said Police Chief Richard Mulhall.
 
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