BRIDGEPORT CT Dec 5 2017 — A veteran city police officer with a troubled history took his life as he sat in a car at Seaside Park early Monday.
“This is a very sad day for the Bridgeport Police Department,” said Police Chief Armando Perez. “Our family has lost a brother officer.”
Police said Officer Thomas Lattanzio, who had been on the police force since 2000, drove a gray coupe to Seaside Park and parked across from the beach. He then took his own life.
Lattanzio was the subject of two civil rights cases, the more recent one resulted in him being placed on administrative status, his gun and badge taken away from him pending further investigation by the city’s Office of Internal Affairs.
“We pray for his family and we are comforting each other,” Perez said. “Policing is a tough job and we have hundreds of committed officers who put their lives on the line to protect each of us, every day.”
At 8:30 p.m. police dispatch announced a moment of silence for Lattanzio.
Within minutes of Lattanzio being found more than 20 patrol cars and unmarked cars with detectives arrived on the scene.
Many of those at the park were emotional, with some veteran officers appearing to be holding back tears.
The manner of death was not immediately released.
One of the incidents for which he was on suspension stemmed from response to an excessive noise complain on Oct. 21 at a party for a 12-year-old on Colorado Avenue.
A video of the incident reviewed by Hearst Connecticut Media showed more than a dozen police officers crowding into the backyard of the Colorado Avenue home. One unidentified officer yells, “Arrest everyone,” while some officers tackle a man dressed as Superman to the ground and others drag a woman dressed as Wonder Woman out of the backyard to a patrol car.
Lattanzio was accused of using excessive force during that arrest.
Just days before his suspension, Lattanzio was evicted from his city condominium after the bank foreclosed on it.
People who knew Lattanzio described him as a loner, his only companion a cat. His family lived in another state.
”The Bridgeport Police Department was his family,” said a fellow officer. ”When his gun and badge were taken, he had nothing else.”
Funeral arrangements had not been set as of Monday evening.
Lattanzio’s death is the third apparent suicide of an area officer in the past four months.
On Sept. 3, Danbury Police Officer Drew Carlson, 38, died of a self-inflicted wound after barricading himself in a Southbury hotel. And on Nov. 3, Naugatuck Police Officer Robert Byrne, 38, was found dead in his Seymour home.