HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut police officer who shot and killed a man who was beating her over the head with her own stun gun was justified when she opened fire, a prosecutor said Monday in clearing the officer of criminal wrongdoing.

Montville Constable Robin Salvatore shot 53-year-old Val Thomas at a hotel in January 2017, Windham State’s Attorney Anne Mahoney said in her report. Thomas, who was struck in the abdomen, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Salvatore and another officer had gone to the Chesterfield Lodge at the request of the owner who said Thomas had not paid his bill and refused to leave.

Thomas grabbed Salvatore’s Taser from her duty belt, hit her over the head with it several times, drawing blood that dripped into the officer’s eye, and said he would kill her.

Salvatore, who had backed away from Thomas fearing that he would try to stun her with the Taser, fired one round after telling Thomas to drop it.

“Since Mr. Thomas repeatedly struck her in the head with a blunt object that could have caused death or serious physical injury and stated that he intended to kill her, Officer Salvatore was justified in the use of deadly physical force,” Mahoney said.

The police account of the confrontation was backed up by hotel surveillance video and the police cruiser camera, Mahoney said.

Thomas had had several contacts with law enforcement dating to 1984, including convictions for physical violence, Mahoney’s report said. Investigators also found delusional writings in his room after his death.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.