The family of a man shot and killed by Norwich Police is looking to sue the city and its police department. They're questioning why officers opened fire on Michael Dugas in February at a park steps from his home.
"I just remember him stumbling forward and just like firecrackers went off," said Paul Johnson of Norwich, who last saw his friend the night he was killed during an encounter with police. "I never saw him raise his hands or witnesses never saw him take his hands out of his pocket. I just never saw him raise his hands."
Johnson is one of several witnesses interviewed by police as well as Robert Reardon, lawyer for Dugas' family. They want to sue the the city for damages.
"The eyewitnesses said they didn't see a gun the ones I spoke with and I spoke to 3 people. All three people said they did not see a gun," said Reardon.
Police were called to the neighborhood park that February night for a report of a man with a gun. Police initially said Dugas pulled a weapon on officers after they tried to communicate with him. That's when they opened fire.
"We're awaiting the police version of this. We'd like to hear from the police as to what their version was. As to why the 41 shots were necessary," Reardon added.
NBC Connecticut tried reaching out to Norwich Police several times but we never heard back. Reardon says all seven officers that were put on administrative leave after the shooting were reinstated within weeks.
"It was clear they intended to kill him and it was also clear from 20 minutes of negotiating with him that he was emotionally upset. Michael Dugas was very well thought of in the neighborhood. He was very helpful and kind to his neighbors."
Neighbors like Paul Johnson said he was upset over the 10th anniversary of his wife's death.
"It's still hard because I saw the shooting. I saw him get shot. We all still miss him," said Johnson.
As far as we know Dugas had no criminal past. The family's lawyer says they'll be suing for punitive damages as well as the pain and suffering Dugas went through when he was shot.
Photo Credit: Audrey Washington, NBC Connecticut