White supremacist ID’d as man killed in police shooting
DANBURY — A man arrested for a hate crime and assaulting police has been identified as the person shot and killed by a Danbury police officer over the weekend.
Paul Arbitelle was shot when investigators say he charged at the officer with a knife during a brief confrontation at the Glen Apartments, a senior housing complex near Rogers Park.
Arbitelle’s mother, Linda, was wounded by the gunfire outside her apartment and was transported to Danbury Hospital, neighbors and law enforcement officials have said.
Paul Arbitelle — who has a number of tattoos, including a dragon and a screaming skull on his face and “white power” on his back — has had several brushes with the law over the years. His most high-profile arrest was in 2011 in a racially motivated assault of a black man on State Street that sent him to prison.
State police are investigating the incident and have yet to release the names of the victims or the officer who fired the shots, but public records, neighbors and law enforcement sources indicated Linda Arbitelle lived at the apartment where officers responded Saturday and that Paul Arbitelle is her son.
The medical examiner’s office confirmed Wednesday that a man named Paul Arbitelle died of gunshot wounds to the torso and extremities.
State police refused to release more information about the incident or confirm the Arbitelles’ names when contacted Wednesday.
The Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad is investigating at the request of the state’s attorney’s office, which will determine whether the shooting was justified.
Mayor Mark Boughton, who was at the scene Saturday night, and law enforcement sources contend the investigation will find the shooting was justified.
Local officials, including City Council President Joe Cavo and Councilman Ben Chianese, expect the state police and attorney’s investigation to conclude within the next two weeks or even within a few days.
Danbury police officers were called to the senior housing complex on Memorial Drive around 9:30 p.m. Saturday for a report of a suspicious man, police said.
Officers encountered Paul Arbitelle — who they believed might have been intoxicated — and attempted to use a Taser on him, but it was “ineffective.” When he charged while holding a knife, the officer fired multiple rounds, according to police.
Linda Arbitelle was struck either by one of those bullets or a bullet fragment, either in the hip or the stomach, officials and neighbors have said. Hospital and police officials refused to comment on her condition, although Boughton had said she was expected to recover.
Neither Boughton nor neighbors have been updated on her condition as of Wednesday afternoon and attempts to reach members of the Arbitelle family have been unsuccessful.
State and local police not yet identified the police officer who fired the shots, although it is not unusual for investigators to withhold names for days or even more than a week.
Although investigators have not released Paul Arbitelle’s name, law enforcement sources indicated he was known to officers and has an extensive record with the law.
Paul Arbitelle was found guilty of interfering with an officer in 2010, driving while under the influence in 2011 for a 2009 incident, and assaulting a public safety officer in 2012 and in 2016, court records show.
Arbitelle pleaded guilty to charges of third-degree assault and interfering with the duties of a police officer and was sentenced to a year in prison in connection with the assault on State Street.
Neighbors recalled a noisy commotion shortly before the shots were fired Saturday night.
Alberta Peterson, who lives in the building directly across from Linda Arbitelle’s, heard yelling from the grassy area between the two buildings before a series of “pops” that she knew were not firecrackers.
“I heard five pops right in a row, so fast that I could tell it wasn’t fireworks and it wasn’t New Year’s Eve yet,” she said.
She peered out her back window and saw two officers standing at the corner of another building with their weapons drawn. She could not see who had been shot, but she saw more officers converging on the scene from the other direction when she looked out her front window.
Peterson watched from inside her apartment as two people were wheeled away on gurneys. The incident happened quickly — all within about 10 minutes, she said.
Several neighbors recalled the same series of events, although most did not directly witness the aftermath as Peterson had and did not want to be identified.
Another half-dozen neighbors who answered their door Wednesday refused to answer a reporter’s questions or said they didn’t know anything about what happened.
Peterson insists she heard five shots, but other neighbors and officials have suggested it was only three shots. Stephen Klein, whose living room windows look out on the lawn where the shooting took place, did not see the incident unfold but distinctly heard three shots, he said.
Boughton and housing authority staff hosted a community meeting on Monday morning for the residents and crisis counselors spoke with residents who needed help.
Staff writer Rob Ryser contributed to this report.