Waterbury police arrest suspect in connection to shooting that injured undercover officer

Waterbury police have made an arrest in connection to a shooting that injured an undercover Naugatuck police officer on Wednesday night.

Members of the Connecticut State Police Violent Crimes Task Force, including officers from the Connecticut State Police and the Waterbury, Shelton, Naugatuck, Watertown and Wolcott police departments were conducting an undercover surveillance operation and looking for a “known felon with a shooting warrant,” Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said at a press conference Friday.

A cruiser with the Naugatuck police officer and an officer from Wolcott noticed that another task force vehicle was conducting counter-surveillance, so they left the area. Their cruiser was followed by a black Audi, which engaged in a pursuit with the officers before firing a gun at the undercover cruiser near the Interstate 84 entrance ramp near Chase Parkway, Spagnolo said. The Naugatuck police officer, who was driving the vehicle, was grazed by a bullet in the right shoulder and chest area.

Emergency services rendered aid to the injured officer. He was transported to Waterbury Hospital, was later released and is now recovering from his injuries, Spagnolo said.

Police have not released the officer’s name.

“He’s resting with his family, he’s eager to get back to full duty as soon as possible,” Naugatuck Police Chief Colin McAllister said. “This officer is not at all discouraged from what’s happened. He’s just increased his commitment to us to get back out there with the task force. He’s very focused on what the objective is here, which is removing these violent offenders from our community.”

Jason Perez was identified by police as the shooting suspect. Perez was not the target of the task force surveillance but has an extended criminal history within the state and is known to the Waterbury Police Department, Spagnolo said.

Perez turned himself into the Waterbury Police Department on Thursday and was taken into custody. He was charged with first-degree assault, conspiracy to commit first-degree assault and weapons in a motor vehicle. He was due to appear in court on Friday afternoon and was being held in lieu of a $500,000 bond, Spagnolo said.

A firearm has not yet been recovered, according to Spagnolo.

The investigation into the shooting is still active, Spagnolo said, and more arrests are expected.