Ridgefield car theft shooting case to resume next week
DANBURY — The Ridgefield man accused of shooting a Waterbury teen during a 2017 botched car robbery outside his home is expected back in court next Wednesday.
Mauro Tropeano, 35, is facing second-degree assault, sale of illegal drugs, illegal discharge of a firearm and interfering with an officer charges following an aborted car theft at his home the night of June 5, 2017, that left a 15-year-old from Waterbury with a bullet lodged in her back.
A seven-day continuance was granted during his hearing at state Superior Court in Danbury on Wednesday.
Tropeano’s attorney, Eugene Riccio, said his client’s Hulda Lane home was “invaded by a gang of at least five marauders intent on continuing their crime spree in multiple towns in western Connecticut” that night.
“After twice entering his property and motor vehicle, the thieves commandeered Mr. Tropeano’s car, which contained valuable personal property, and crashed it in his front yard,” he said.
Riccio said Tropeano is a licensed gun-owner with no criminal records, who “responded appropriately under the dangerous circumstances.”
“After stealing some of Mr. Tropeano’s personal property, the thieves fled in a car they had previously stolen from another town [and] continued their criminal onslaught, which included stealing cars and property from homeowners at night in other Connecticut towns,” Riccio said.
According to the affidavit for Tropeano’s arrest, the teen girl who was shot told police she had driven to Ridgefield in a stolen Kia Sorento with a group of friends with the intent of stealing cars.
While the group was attempting to drive off with a Range Rover parked in the driveway of Tropeano’s home, Tropeano came out and fired three shots. One of the bullets passed through the rear of the Kia and struck her in the back, the girl told police.
She was later admitted to Waterbury Hospital, where doctors were unable to remove the bullet.
In a police interview shortly after the shooting, Tropeano denied having fired a weapon during the attempted robbery, but declined to have his hands tested for gunpowder residue.
A search of Tropeano’s home turned up three spent shell casings that matched the caliber of a Glock handgun, as well as seven vacuum-sealed packages of marijuana, steroids in injectable and pill form, and more than $28,000 in cash.
Police also seized two guns, including the Glock with a mounted flashlight, were also seized.
Tropeano — who owns Stanziato’s Wood Fired Pizza in Danbury — later admitted firing the Glock that night, claiming self-defense.
The teen girl Tropeano shot filed a lawsuit against him a month after the incident, accusing him of negligent and intentional assault, as well as reckless and wanton misconduct.
The lawsuit, however, was dismissed in September 2018 after she failed to appear for a status conference.
Tropeano has pleaded not guilty and is next scheduled to appear at state Superior Court in Danbury on March 4.