Family wants ‘right answers’ from May shooting

The family of the man who was shot and killed by Ridgefield police on Ridgebury Road in May has filed a notice that says it reserves the right to sue the town when the state police investigation concludes.

John Valluzzo was shot twice inside his home on May 24 when he advanced toward police, who had responded to the scene after a domestic disturbance call, and refused to drop his pistol, despite being ordered to do so, police reports said.

The scene of the shooting off Ridgebury Road last May. —Thomas B. Nash photo

The scene of the shooting off Ridgebury Road last May. —Thomas B. Nash photo

Danbury attorney Andrew Buzzi Jr., the executor of Mr. Valluzzo’s estate, said Monday that state law dictates the family of the deceased must file a notice of intention within six months of the incident to be able to sue the town, or any state entity.

He added that he does not know if the family will sue or not.

“Their decision hasn’t been made yet,” Mr. Buzzi said. “We have very limited information about the case at this point and we expect that we won’t have the answers from the state police within that six-month time frame; therefore, the family is reserving its right and taking the appropriate actions.

“There’s no time limitation for a case like this and we encourage the state police to take their time to do a thorough investigation,” he said. “We want the right answers and we are willing to wait to get them.”

According to the notice Mr. Buzzi filed in the town clerk’s office, the Valluzzo family is claiming that the conduct of the officers failed to follow departmental procedures pertaining to domestic violence calls, use of weapons, and situations involving entry onto premises; was done without warning; and was excessive in the force used.

The notice lists six “employees responsible” for the damages incurred.

The list includes Officer Jorge Romero, who fired the fatal shots that struck Mr. Valluzzo, Sgt. Craig Worster, Lt. Michael Gates, Officer Mark Caswell, Chief of Police John Roche, and dispatcher Bill Browning.

“Additionally, Officer Romero was not psychologically fit for patrol duty and Chief Roche should not have permitted him to engage in anything other than administrative duties,” the notice reads.

Officer Romero returned to active duty on Aug. 16 after being on paid leave since the incident.

“Based on our standards, he was fit for duty and was ready to come back,” Chief Roche said last week.

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said last week that the investigation into Mr. Valluzzo’s death was still open.

He added that once completed, the police report will be sent to the state’s attorney’s office, which will issue its own report on the incident.

First Selectman Rudy Marconi said the town’s only action is to wait and see if a lawsuit takes place.

“If a lawsuit ever takes place, it will be against the town of Ridgefield — not the Police Department,” he said.

“My sympathy goes out to the family of the deceased for this very unfortunate incident, but the Ridgefield Police Department, in conjunction with the state police, did what it was supposed to do and my support will be with them and I expect they will be exonerated once the investigation comes to its conclusion.”

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