Collision Course | Connecticut Public Radio
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Collision Course

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

In April, 18-year-old Anthony Jose Vega Cruz was driving in Wethersfield, Connecticut, on the way to dinner with his girlfriend. But he was stopped by police. He fled. The pursuit ended when an officer fatally shot Vega Cruz, known as "Chulo" to family and friends. 

This hour, we sit down with reporter, Vanessa de la Torre. She is the supervising producer of Collision Course, a new Connecticut Public documentary.

Collision Course / Connecticut Public Television

It’s been six months since a police officer fatally shot Anthony Jose “Chulo” Vega Cruz after a traffic stop in Wethersfield, Conn.

The 18-year-old’s father, Jose Vega, often walks by the site of the shooting on Wethersfield’s Silas Deane Highway. It’s hard not to — he lives just a block and a half away. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

On average, police are more likely to pull over a person of color than a white person. That’s what the data shows.

Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont have all taken steps to reduce this disparity, but these stops still happen every day. And, that higher number of stops leads to more encounters between civilians and police.

Last April, Anthony Vega Cruz was shot and killed by police in Wethersfield, Connecticut after cops tried to pull him over. He was 18 years old.

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

It's been nearly two months since Anthony Jose "Chulo" Vega Cruz died after being shot by a Wethersfield police officer. The shooting remains under investigation by the Hartford state's attorney's office. The 18-year-old would've graduated from Hartford Public Schools and Our Piece of the Pie's Opportunity Academy on Friday. In what was an emotional day for family, classmates, and faculty of the former student, the school took time to honor Vega Cruz. 

Office Of The Chief State's Attorney

In the 15 months before he pulled over Anthony Jose “Chulo” Vega Cruz, Wethersfield police officer Peter Salvatore made over 320 traffic stops — the third highest in a department that already stands out for how often it pulls over people of color.

But while Salvatore initiated the stop that left the 18-year-old dead, it was another officer, Layau Eulizier Jr., who fired the fatal shots on April 20. Eulizier had been employed by the Wethersfield Police Department for roughly eight months. In that short time, Eulizier logged 266 traffic stops — more than most Wethersfield officers make in an entire year, according to a new data analysis by Connecticut Public Radio.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The 18-year old man shot by Wethersfield Police in April died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the results of an autopsy performed on Anthony Jose “Chulo” Vega Cruz.

Without Dissent, Senate Passes Police Shootings Bill

May 29, 2019
A screengrab from the first of three videos released by the chief state's attorney on Friday, May 3, 2019 depicting the moments after a police officer in Wethersfield, Conn. shot an 18-year-old driver following a traffic stop.
Chief State's Attorney

One state senator’s quiet negotiations with police chiefs and officers led to the unanimous passage Wednesday night of law enforcement accountability legislation drafted in response to the fatal police shootings of motorists in New Haven and Wethersfield.

Carlos Mejia / Connecticut Public Radio

Two recent police shootings in Connecticut have brought issue of tensions between police and the public -- particularly communities of color -- front and center. Connecticut Public Radio's Where We Live team hosted a community conversation in Hartford recently, aimed at airing some of those issues.

Carlos Mejia / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

Two recent police shootings in Connecticut highlight, once again, tensions between police and the public.

As lawmakers debate ways to hold police accountable, residents wrestle with trusting law enforcement. What issues need be addressed to mend relationships and build stronger communities?

This hour, we listen back to a conversation we hosted with community members at the Arroyo Recreation Center at Pope Park in Hartford.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The state’s attorney investigating the fatal Wethersfield, Conn. police shooting said she wants to go back to the beginning of the traffic stop and understand why police pulled over 18-year-old Anthony Jose “Chulo” Vega Cruz.

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

As the repercussions from two police shootings in Connecticut continue to reverberate, municipal governments in Hamden and in Wethersfield attempted Monday to address the incidents. But neither ended the night by taking any action.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The release of dashcam and surveillance footage on May 3rd of a police shooting in Wethersfield spurred a range of reactions. For friends and supporters of Anthony Jose "Chulo" Vega Cruz, the 18-year-old who later died from his injuries, it was a mix of sadness and outrage.

Police Shootings Echo At General Assembly

May 3, 2019
Michelle Lee / Creative Commons

Many police experts advise don’t do it. Some departments prohibit it. But twice in recent weeks, a police officer in Connecticut has fired into a motor vehicle, killing a driver in Wethersfield, wounding a passenger in New Haven — and fueling a push in Hartford for legislation addressing the use of force.

A screengrab from the first of three videos released by the chief state's attorney on Friday, May 3, 2019 depicting the moments after a police officer in Wethersfield, Conn. shot an 18-year-old driver following a traffic stop.
Chief State's Attorney

Nearly two weeks since a Wethersfield police officer shot an 18-year-old driver after a traffic stop, the chief state’s attorney’s office released dashcam footage and surveillance video on Friday that show the incident that led to the man’s death.

Kittrell Lauray, 18, center, a family friend, holds up a "Justice for Chulo" banner during Thursday's march down Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield. Police blocked off the road for about two hours.
Vanessa de la Torre / Connecticut Public Radio

The shooting death of 18-year-old Anthony Jose "Chulo" Vega Cruz by a Wethersfield police officer prompted protesters to take to the streets of Hartford and Wethersfield Thursday night.

Anthony Colon lights candles at the vigil for his brother Anthony Jose Vega "Chulo" Cruz, 18, who died Monday night after being shot during a traffic stop in Wethersfield.
Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

A Wethersfield teen has died after being shot during a traffic stop in the town. State police confirmed the death of 18-year-old Anthony Jose Vega Cruz Monday night. 

Chion Wolf (File photo) / Connecticut Public Radio

A Wethersfield man is reportedly in critical condition after injuries suffered during an officer-involved shooting Saturday night.