Police Identify Driver Shot By New Britain Officers Thursday

State police have identified the driver who was shot and killed by New Britain officers on Thursday as 20-year-old Zoe Dowdell of Bloomfield.

Police say Dowdell drove his car toward officers as they tried to stop him in connection with a series of violent carjackings and street robberies.

Authorities spotted Dowdell and two others in a vehicle at Chapman Street and Chapman Court at 6:41 p.m. on Thursday. That vehicle — a teal, 1996 Toyota Paseo with New Hampshire plates — had been used in a recent rash of carjackings and robberies in and around the city, police said.

Officers were looking for the Toyota because surveillance video showed it had been used by carjackers who attacked two people on Kelsey Street Monday, police said. One attacker carried a gun and demanded that the victims get out of their car, then shot at them — hitting the trunk — when the victims sped off instead, according to the report by state police Trooper James McGlynn.

On Thursday evening, officers saw the Toyota near Newington Avenue and Chapman Street and began following it. Several police cars converged when the driver braked for a stop sign at Chapman Street and Chapman Court.

“The operator of the Toyota attempted to flee the area and in so doing struck some of the police vehicles in an attempt to elude the police,” McGlynn wrote in his report. “Fearing for their safety, New Britain police personnel shot several rounds from their duty weapons at the Toyota, striking the front two occupants.”

Authorities said they found a pistol on the Toyota’s floor. The police officers involved were not injured.

Dowdell was shot in the neck and pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford. A 15-year-old and an 18-year-old also were in the car.

A person who answered the door at a Bloomfield address listed for Dowdell declined to comment Saturday.

The 15-year-old, who was not named, was shot in the leg and treated at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford. Police said he had several bullets and a small amount of suspected heroin in his pants. He was charged with carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle, possessing a pistol without a permit and possessing narcotics.

The 18-year-old, identified as Noah Young, was hospitalized with graze wounds and released into police custody. A Superior Court judge ordered him held on $1 million bond on drug charges linked to Thursday’s fatal shooting.

Judge Joan Alexander noted that an investigation was still underway and that Young was wanted on two warrants charging him with driving a car without permission and driving without a license.

Young told police he knew nothing of a gun in the car or the recent robberies. He was charged with possessing narcotics, possessing narcotics with intent to sell and risk of injury to a minor.

New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said Thursday that more than one officer fired at the vehicle, but state police, now investigating the matter, did not disclose how many officers were involved or how many shots were fired.

Under state law, any shooting that involves an officer firing a gun is turned over to the state police and the state’s attorney. The New Britain officers were placed on paid administrative leave, Mayor Erin Stewart said.

Middlesex County State’s Attorney Peter McShane is overseeing the investigation.

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