NAUGATUCK — Police said Tuesday they are searching for the driver of a car who drove at a police officer during a traffic stop in Naugatuck Monday night, prompting an officer to fire at the vehicle.
A Naugatuck officer stopped an orange Dodge Charger with Ohio license plates on the Route 8 northbound on-ramp at Maple Street at about 8 p.m. after observing what Deputy Police Chief C. Colin McAllister described as “criminal activity.” During the stop, McAllister said the officer fired at the car as it drove at him.
The car fled the scene after the shots were fired. McAllister declined to say what “criminal activity” led to the stop, only that it was not a motor vehicle violation. He said the investigation is ongoing and police will release information as quickly as possible.
Police suspect the driver was 24-year-old Roznovsky Antonio Machado, of Waterbury, and they continued to search for him into Tuesday afternoon. McAllister said police don’t know what, if any, injuries Machado suffered. Police believe Machado was the only person in the car, he said.
McAllister said police located the Dodge Charger in Waterbury Tuesday morning. A car matching the description of the vehicle that drove at the officer was seen parked behind a multi-family home at 41 Vine St. in Waterbury at about 10:30 a.m. It had what appeared to be a bullet hole in the windshield and another in the front passenger side door, along with a shattered rear passenger window.
Detectives from Waterbury and Naugatuck were seen near the car Tuesday morning. Police did not disclose what, if anything, was found in the car. State police, who are handling the investigation of the officer’s use of force, are processing the car for evidence, McAllister said.
State police identified the officer who fired at the car as Sgt. Nicholas Kehoss, who has been an officer in Naugatuck for 10 years. Kehoss suffered minor injuries and was treated at a local hospital. He has been placed on administrative assignment, McAllister said. Shifting an officer to that type of assignment is routine when officers fire their sidearm during an encounter.
State police said Officer Kevin Zainc, who has been a member of the Naugatuck Police Department for 15 years, was also involved, but didn’t fire his weapon. Police did not say what his involvement entailed.
The officers were wearing body cameras, state police said, and there is video footage of the incident as well as dispatcher audio. Police said the footage and audio is expected to be released in “the coming days.”
Police ask anyone with information on the shooting to call the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crimes Squad at 860-626-7900.
Police declined to provide many details Tuesday, including the events that led up to the shooting, why the car had Ohio license plates, and how many shots the officer fired.
“This investigation is in the initial phases. Our primary goal at this point, is to try to provide our community with the most accurate and updated information as it pertains to this officer-involved shooting,” said Trooper Josue Dorelus, a spokesman for Connecticut State Police, during a news conference.
Police ask anyone with information on Machado’s whereabouts to contact the Naugatuck Police Department at 203-729-5221 or the department’s confidential tip line at 203-720-1010.
Naugatuck police say they intend to charge Machado with attempted first-degree assault, second-degree assault, engaging an officer in a pursuit and assaulting an officer.
Machado has a record with the police. In March 2017, he was charged with interfering with an officer and later convicted, receiving a suspended prison sentence and probation, then was charged with violating his probation after he failed to appear in court, records show.
In January, Waterbury police charged Roznovsky with carrying a pistol without a permit, illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle and operating without a license, among other charges, according to court records.
Police in Bristol charged him in April with larceny, burglary and interfering with an officer.
In October 2019, he was charged with interfering with an officer, assault on police personnel and first-degree criminal mischief as well as motor vehicle violations after allegedly fleeing a traffic stop and ramming a police cruiser in Watertown, according to Republican-American archives.
Waterbury and Watertown police eventually took him into custody in a backyard on Eastern Avenue in Waterbury after a short pursuit on foot. Machado was released after those arrests after he posted bonds totaling more than $130,000.