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Woman enters Bristol Police Department with gun, opening fire as officers respond, video shows

Bristol Police Department officers subdue Suzanne Laprise (not pictured) after the Plainville resident fired a handgun into the bulletproof glass of the lobby's reception counter.
Provided
/
State Office of Inspector General
Bristol Police Department officers subdue Suzanne Laprise (not pictured) after the Plainville resident fired a handgun into the bulletproof glass of the lobby's reception counter.

A video released Tuesday shows a woman walking into the main lobby of the Bristol Police Department with a gun to her head before repeatedly opening fire at responding officers.

The woman, identified as Suzanne Laprise, 51, of nearby Plainville, fired several gunshots in the lobby of the police station but bulletproof glass prevented anyone from being injured. Authorities have since charged Laprise with attempted murder and other crimes.

The shooting happened late Thursday evening.

Video shows Laprise walking into the lobby wearing a red jacket and holding a bag.

In her hand is a gun, which is initially pointed toward her head.

As she approaches the reception desk, which was unoccupied, Laprise begins banging on the glass with the handgun. She then begins shooting.

Footage released by the state Office of Inspector General shows her fire several shots into both windows in the reception area – and into a nearby glass door.

Laprise then sets down the gun, takes off her jacket, and begins smoking what appears to be a cigarette, video shows.

She picks the weapon back up and sits in a lobby chair, directly across from a glass-paned door, which officers partially open as they attempt to speak with her.

Laprise sits cross-legged with the gun periodically pointed at her head.

She then fires two more shots at responding officers, video shows.

Before her apprehension, Suzanne Laprise, 51, of Plainville, shoots into the bulletproof glass of the reception counter of the Bristol Police Department headquarters Thursday, October 5, 2023.
Provided
/
State Office of Inspector General
Suzanne Laprise, 51, of Plainville, remains detained after firing several shots into the bulletproof glass of the reception counter of the Bristol Police Department headquarters Thursday, October 5, 2023.

“Are these windows bulletproof?” one officer asks, as body cam footage shows police huddling behind a nearby wall while the gunshots ring out.

In response, Officer Spencer Boisvert discharged a weapon twice, video shows. The bullets were stopped by the bulletproof glass.

“Get down! Get down on the ground!” an officer yells.

Laprise sets down the gun and begins moving around the lobby, slamming on the walls and yelling before moving back toward where the gun is resting on a nearby chair.

“She does not have the gun in her hand right now,” a voice over the police radio says.

Laprise can be heard screaming before officers then enter the lobby, with one discharging a stun gun and two others restraining her.

She was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and armed with an illegal high-capacity magazine, police said.

Laprise was arrested and taken to a hospital for evaluation.

She was released from the hospital into police custody Friday morning and appeared in state court in New Britain, where a judge lowered the $3 million bond set by police to $1 million. She remained detained and is scheduled to return to court Oct. 17.

In court, a representative of the public defender's office described Laprise as a mother of three adult children who has never been in trouble with the law before and volunteers at her church.

She worked for a state agency that helps developmentally disabled people for more than two decades and has a son with Down syndrome, said David Napierkowski, a “fellow,” or intern, in the public defender's office. State officials said Laprise retired in 2020.

“This is an ongoing matter. She’s innocent until proven guilty,” Napierkowski told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Provided
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State Office of Inspector General
Bristol Police Department personnel secure the lobby of the BPD headquarters after subduing Suzanne Laprise

The Connecticut State Police and the Inspector General's Office are investigating the incident, Bristol police said.

The shooting came nearly a year after the community was unnerved by the shooting deaths of two Bristol police officers who were ambushed outside a home in another part of town.

As Laprise fired at officers during the Thursday shooting, she sat directly opposite a wall where a memorial was mounted for two police officers who died in that attack — Sgt. Dustin DeMonte and Officer Alex Hamzy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.
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