Inspector General Rules Hartford Police Justified in Shamar Ogman’s Fatal Shooting

Inspector General Rules Hartford Police Justified in Shamar Ogman’s Fatal Shooting
Inspector General Rules Hartford Police Justified in Shamar Ogman’s Fatal Shooting

The Hartford police officer had just heard the clang of an armed suspect “loading” his rifle and saw him raise it toward police trying to arrest him when she fired a single shot from her own rifle ending the incident and the death. suspect’s life.

State Inspector General Robert Devlin ruled that Officer Ashley Martinez’s decision to kill Shamar Ogman in December 2020 was justified in order to save her life and the lives of the other officers.

“He’s pointing it out!” Martinez is quoted in Devlin’s report as saying of Ogman, who was crouched behind a dumpster in a Gilman Street parking lot. “Seeing the suspect continue to point his rifle at the officers, having heard the suspect ‘snatch’ the rifle and the combat stance he had gotten into, I believed the suspect was once again going to fire and kill or possibly severely injure others at the scene.”

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Devlin, appointed last fall to investigate all cases of police officers using potentially deadly force, said the 26-year-old officer fired after Ogman ignored repeated warnings to drop the gun while yelling that he wanted police to kill him.

“Officer Martinez used deadly force to defend other officers from what she reasonably believed was the imminent use of deadly force against them,” Devlin wrote in her 36-page report. “Consequently, I consider such use of force to be objectively reasonable and justified.”

Police had responded to multiple 911 calls, including from family members, that Ogman was agitated and dejected as he walked down the street with an assault rifle and handgun.

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Ogman, 30, who lived on Gilman Street with a woman and her 14-month-old son, had a history of gun arrests and convictions, including an arrest just three days before the Dec. 26 incident that led him to use a ankle. wrist monitor

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Part of police body camera footage showing Ogman pointing a rifle at police from behind a dumpster

“Ogman was worried about going back to jail,” Devlin wrote, and had been fired several days earlier from his job at an area supermarket.

Witnesses told investigators that Ogman had received a phone call that night that upset him, and shortly after he walked out into the street with the guns.

A witness said he tried to take his guns away, but Ogman told him: “Don’t do that, big dog. It’s better if I’m not here. I’d rather be killed than killed. I’m not going back to jail.”

Multiple officers and a K9 police officer responded and tracked down Ogman as he ran through the neighborhood trying to elude them.

Police later learned that the guns Ogman was carrying were actually replicas that could not fire, even though he was also carrying a magazine loaded with five bullets.

Devlin said that Martinez and the other officers could not have known this at the time of the incident, “given the nighttime conditions, Ogman’s movements, and the distance between the HPD officers and Ogman…particularly as several officers heard Ogman ‘put away’ the weapon. ”

Devlin, a former federal prosecutor and state judge, was appointed by the state Criminal Justice Commission last October after the 2020 killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, prompting a national call for tighter controls on how police conduct criminal investigations. suspects and uses deadly force.

Ogman’s case is the third time he has cleared the police of any wrongdoing since taking office.

It also charged a state trooper with involuntary manslaughter in the 2020 shooting death of a West Haven knife-wielding carjacking suspect, ruling that the trooper acted criminally because “neither he nor anyone else was in danger.” imminent serious injury or death. of an attack with a knife”, during the confrontation.

That case is pending.