A Waterbury man suspected of being involved in multiple shots fired incidents in the city was found to be in possession of an illegally-owned gun and narcotics, police said.
On Thursday, Feb. 2, around 3:30 p.m., police in Waterbury were patrolling the city's downtown area when they received a complaint that a man had been loading a gun and causing a disturbance in the area of West Main Street and Leavenworth Street, according to Waterbury Police Lieutenant Ryan Bessette.
After arriving in the area, officers found a suspect matching the provided description and recognized him as the same man who had been involved in two previous shooting incidents in the city.
Police then approached the man to investigate, and he immediately became uncooperative and physically hostile, Bessette said, adding that he ignored commands to raise his hands. Officers then forcefully took the man into custody, which he resisted. He also allegedly tried placing his hands near his waistband area during the scuffle with police.
A video of the arrest was released by Waterbury Police.
After the suspect, identified as 37-year-old Waterbury resident James Thomas, was taken into custody and searched, he was found to be in possession of a loaded Smith and Wesson 9MM pistol with a high-capacity magazine containing 11 rounds of ammunition that had been tucked into his waistband.
Officers also found another high-capacity magazine with 30 rounds of ammunition, as well as 1,458 bags of heroin and 140 grams of raw heroin.
Thomas sustained injuries to his face from being brought into custody and was brought to Saint Mary's Hospital along with an officer involved in the arrest who had also been injured with a strained shoulder during the process. The officer and Thomas have since been released from the hospital.
Because Thomas does not possess a valid Connecticut pistol permit and has been previously convicted of third-degree assault, he is disqualified from owning and carrying guns, Bessette said.
Thomas is charged with:
- Second-degree breach of peace;
- Interfering with police;
- Criminal possession of a pistol;
- Criminal possession of a firearm;
- Illegal sale/transfer of a pistol;
- Possession of a large-capacity magazine;
- Possession of an ounce or more of heroin;
- Assault on a police officer.
Thomas was also served two arrest warrants with the following charges related to two previous shots fired incidents in the city on Saturday, Jan. 14.
- Criminal use of a weapon;
- First-degree reckless endangerment;
- Illegal discharge of a firearm.
Thomas is currently held by the Connecticut Department of Correction on a $1.4 million bond and will next appear in Waterbury Superior Court on Tuesday, March 21.
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