East Haven police lieutenant fired three shots and missed an unarmed suspect during a foot chase
Officials are investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred during a multi-town police pursuit on Interstate 95 in Milford on Thursday.
The Office of the Inspector General released body camera videos of when police arrested Nicholas Gambardella, 27, after first confronting him at a Burger King parking lot in Branford. That led to a multi-town police pursuit on I-95 south.
At the Burger King, police blocked off Gambardella's car. He ended up driving away, crashing into two police cars, and driving onto I-95 south, officials said.
The police pursuit stretched from Branford to exit 36 in Milford. Gambardella drove off I-95 and crashed at the end of the exit ramp and ran off, officials said.
Gambardella ran across both the southbound and northbound sides of I-95 to a grass area. East Haven Police Department Lieutenant Joseph Finoia and Lieutenant Kevin Klarman followed him on foot, as seen in the released body cam footage.
Finoia can be heard yelling, "I'll [expletive] kill you! Get down on the ground!" before firing three shots at Gambardella, who then falls to the ground. Klarman then grabs for Gambardella while he is on the ground, and officers took him into custody.
None of the shots struck Gambardella, according to the Inspector General. Police reported no injuries as of Thursday.
Police confronted Gambardella regarding outstanding felony warrants, and they had information going into it that Gambardella possessed a gun, the Inspector General said. However, police did not find a weapon on or near Gambardella when he was taken into custody.
FOX61 looked into those charges and found several on file for Gambardella, pending at the moment. Those charges include attempt to commit robbery in the 3rd degree, assault in the 3rd degree, attempt to commit larceny in the 1st degree, reckless endangerment in the 1st degree, and criminal mischief in the 3rd degree.
Gambardella has also been convicted of several charges in the past, including reckless driving, threatening in the 1st degree, violation of probation, breach of peace in the 2nd degree, reckless endangerment in the 1st degree, and possession with intent to sell.
During Thursday morning's chase, many drivers on 95 were scared, unsure of what to do.
"It was pretty terrifying because there was like nowhere to go. You couldn't take cover. You were just stuck in the middle of it," Chanelle Goldson of New Haven, a witness, told FOX61 on Thursday. She was on her way to work when she felt cars zipping by her on the highway.
Goldson said it was a scary situation because a lot of drivers were confused and felt helpless during the whole thing.
The Office of the Inspector General is continuing this investigation with assistance from East Haven Police Department, Branford Police Department, Milford Police Department, and the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad.