HARTFORD, Vermont (AP) – Vermont State Police detectives are investigating the fatal shooting by a Hartford police officer of a man who allegedly attacked the officer, police say.
Police identified the man who was killed on Friday as Joseph John Howard, 35, of Bradford. An autopsy revealed Howard had died from a gunshot wound to the chest.
The officer was identified as the Hartford Police Corporal. Eric Clifford, a 12 year veteran of the department.
The preliminary investigation found that Clifford was sent to a local house around 1:30 p.m. Thursday after a caller reported a disruption.
After Clifford’s arrival, Howard allegedly ignored the officer’s instructions and attacked the officer. Clifford used pepper spray, but it didn’t get the subject under control.
While they were both on the ground, Howard repeatedly punched Clifford in the head and strangled him. The officer fired his service weapon, fatally injuring the subject, police said.
Clifford was treated in hospital for non-life threatening injuries and was discharged later Thursday evening. He is on administrative leave as per standard Hartford Police Department policy.
Once the investigation is complete, state police will refer the case to the Vermont Attorney General‘s Office and the Washington County State Attorney’s Office for independent reviews. The Windsor County State Attorney’s Office has withdrawn from the case.
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