A Fairfield police officer’s firearm was accidentally discharged during a struggle with a suspected burglar on Jan. 15. Nobody was injured and the incident is under review.
Deputy Chief Chris Lyddy confirmed the discharge happened while police attempted to arrest Leonard Morello, 58, of Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport, in the vicinity of Old Post Road and Avalon Avenue. The exact details of the struggle are being reviewed, but it is known that Morello initially fled from the police and resisted arrest.
Shortly before Morello was arrested at 11:15 p.m., a homeowner spotted the suspect riding a bicycle down his driveway toward Old Post Road. The bike belonged to the homeowner and was stored inside his unlocked garage.
When police arrived, Morello turned up a driveway and was pursued by an officer on foot. He was given a verbal command to stop, with which he did not comply. Two officers were able to take Morello into custody, after the firearm was discharged.
Morello has 56 prior arrests on his record and was sought on a warrant out of Hartford.
After being taken into custody, officers recovered a credit card case and other items believed to be stolen. The suspect allegedly stole from a few homes in the region before he was caught. The card case belonged to a juvenile whose parents requested charges be filed against Morello.
For the initial call, Morello was charged with third-degree burglary, sixth-degree larceny and refusal to be finger printed. His attempt to escape from officers added charges for criminal trespass, disobeying an officer’s verbal order and resisting arrest.
Morello is expected in court for the Hartford-issued warrant on Jan. 18. For the other charges, he is being held on a $100,000 cash bond for a Jan. 29 court date.