A Connecticut state trooper turned himself in Tuesday after he was charged with manslaughter for shooting and killing a man more than two years ago following a high-speed pursuit with a man in a stolen car.
Connecticut State Trooper Brian North said he was in fear for the lives of fellow officers because the man driving the stolen car had a knife while sitting in the driver’s seat.
But investigators determined the shooting of Mubarak Soulemane on January 15, 2020 was not justified.
According to the 133-page investigative report by the Connecticut Office of Inspector General which you can read here:
Stated briefly, the investigation establishes that, at the time Trooper North fired his weapon, neither he nor any other person was in imminent danger of serious injury or death from a knife attack at the hands of Soulemane. Further, any belief that persons were in such danger was not reasonable. I therefore find that North’s use of deadly force was not justified under Connecticut law.
Soulemane, 19, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 14, his mother, Omo Mohammed, told investigators. On the day of the shooting, he had gotten into an argument with his brother and left the house.
His mother who was out of the country that day said he normally would take medication in the morning and at night but it did not appear he did so that morning.
His girlfriend who had never seen him in that condition described him as being “erratic, paranoid and disorganized,” the report states.
Later that day, Soulemane entered an AT&T store, inquiring about buying a phone but the store clerk found him to be “acting mentally disturbed and strange,” the report states. The clerk also noticed he was holding a kitchen knife but not threatening anybody with it.
At one point, he tried to steal an iPhone from a display but was escorted out of the store by employees who then called police.
Soulemane left the store and called an Uber but when the driver arrived, he got into the back seat and told the driver to “drive, drive, drive!”
He then attempted to steal the driver’s phone and eventually carjacked the Hyundai after the driver pulled into a gas station, stepped out of the car and drew his firearm. But he did not fire it because he saw Norwalk police officers had arrived on the scene, who then began the pursuit.
Norwalk police ended its pursuit at some point as Connecticut state police took over. A little more than 30 minutes after the carjacking, the cops had forced the Hyundai to stop by boxing it in.
Police say that Soulemane was sitting in the driver’s seat with the seat reclined and his eyes closed. His hands were on his lap.
This is how North described his actions to investigators, according to the report.
“After giving instructions to Tpr. Jackson to go to Taser, I put my left hand back on my pistol and reactivated my flashlight. I could see that the suspect was wearing a black winter jacket, which I know would likely cause the Taser to be ineffective. I could see also that Tpr. Jackson was in close proximity to the suspect, which could also cause the Taser not to induce NMI. I continued to provide lethal cover in case the suspect escalated the situation. I continued to monitor the suspect and noticed that his hands still appeared to be empty in his lap. The suspect was not moving at this time. Knowing this, I continued to provide lethal cover because I know Tpr.
Jackson only had his Taser out, and the West Haven Officer only had a baton in his hands. After multiple strikes of the baton on the window, I believe about five or six strikes, the window shattered. As soon as the window shattered, I saw the suspects eyes open wide. I also saw the West Haven Officer’s head had dropped below the roofline of the suspect vehicle, and it appeared to me that he was going to enter the car to remove the suspect. I know through my training and experience, when a suspect refuses to comply and law enforcement officers force entry into a vehicle through a window, the immediate response is to move in and pull out the suspect. The suspect quickly sat straight up in the driver’s seat. As the West Haven Officer was trying to enter the suspect vehicle, the suspect quickly moved his right hand and went straight for his right front pants pocket.
I heard someone yell out, “He’s reaching. He’s reaching.” I am unsure which officer on scene was the one yelling. At this moment, I remember thinking to myself, I do not want to shoot the suspect based only on furtive movement. The suspect continued to make furtive movements, was reaching into his right front pants pocket, appeared to be pulling something out, and quickly looked to his right in the direction of the West Haven Officer and Tpr. Jackson. I immediately became concerned for the safety of both the West Haven Officer and Tpr. Jackson, as Tpr. Jackson only had his Taser out, and I did not believe that the West Haven Officer had his weapon drawn. At this point, I felt my field of vision narrow, focusing on watching the suspect’s hands. Immediately the suspect, using his right hand quickly removed a silver colored object from his right pants pocket.
As the suspect raised his right hand from his right front pants pocket with the object still in it, I recognized the object the suspect removed from his pocket to be a fixed blade knife. The knife had a silver colored serrated blade that was approximately four inches long. The suspect held the knife in his right hand, in a closed fist at a 90 degree angle with his body. The knife was held with the tip of the blade facing upwards towards the roof of the suspect vehicle, and the serrated edge facing towards the front of the vehicle in the direction of the front windshield. While the suspect held the knife in his right hand, he began to abruptly move in the driver’s seat. I quickly took my eyes off the suspect and looked in the direction of Tpr. Jackson and the West Haven Officer.
I saw Tpr. Jackson quickly advancing towards the open passenger window and I could not see the West Haven Officer anymore. This led me to believe that the West Haven Officer had already begun to enter the suspect vehicle to take control of the suspect. I immediately looked back at the suspect and saw that he still had the knife in his hand, and was making furtive movements. The suspect was moving and holding the knife in an aggressive manner, and appeared to me to be preparing to attack either Tpr. Jackson or the West Haven Officer. Based on these circumstances, I believed that Tpr. Jackson and the West Haven Officer were at imminent risk of serious physical injury or death, and could have been stabbed in the neck or face as they attempted to enter the vehicle and remove the suspect. As a result, I discharged my duty firearm to eliminate the threat.
“I discharged my duty pistol, a Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0 9mm, several times aiming for center mass on the suspect in an effort to stop the threat. At the time, I was unsure how many times I had discharged my duty pistol. After discharging my firearm, I immediately activated my portable radio and Broadcast, “Shots fired.” I then looked into the suspect vehicle, and I could see the suspect was still moving. I then yelled, “He’s got the knife. Drop the knife. Drop the knife.” The driver’s side window was shattered. I crouched down to look through the hole in the shattered glass of the window. I then yelled out, “It’s out of his hands. It’s on his lap.” I could see the suspect was still moving at this time, but noticed the knife was now on his lap. Then I used my pistol to remove some glass so I could see clearly into the suspect vehicle. I continued to maintain lethal coverage until I knew there was no longer a threat. I immediately noticed that the suspect’s head was back on the headrest, and he was looking up at the roof of the vehicle.
At this point, the knife was on the suspect’s lap a couple of inches away from both of his hands. I quickly reached into the vehicle with my left hand, removed the knife, and placed it on the hood of the suspect vehicle. I told officers on the passenger side of the suspect vehicle, “I got the knife. It’s on the hood. Pull him out.” Knowing that I had retrieved the weapon from the suspect, and that there was no longer a threat, I instructed the other officers on scene to pull the suspect out of the vehicle knowing that we needed to immediately render first aid.”
North was released on a $50,000 bond and is due back in court on May 3, according to the New York Times. Watch the video below.