Officer Resigns and Receives Payout After Fatal Traffic Stop

June 10, 2021

WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP) — A former Connecticut police officer, who shot and killed an 18-year-old motorist during a traffic stop, received a $100,000 payout from Wethersfield’s municipal insurer when he resigned from the department, according to documents obtained by the Hartford Courant through a Freedom of Information Act request.

It is unclear if the money paid is a part of earned vacation or sick time or other benefits.

Layau Eulizier shot and killed Anthony Vega-Cruz in April 2019 after an officer discovered the license plates on Vega-Cruz’s vehicle belong to a different vehicle.

Eulizier was ordering food at a nearby restaurant and joined the pursuit of Vega-Cruz, who authorities say was attempting to elude officers.

When Vega-Cruz’s vehicle came to a stop, Eulizier exited his cruiser and ran out onto Silas Deane Highway repeatedly yelling “show me your hands.”

Police said Eulizier stepped in front of Vega-Cruz’s car as he was attempting to drive away and fired into the windshield, hitting Vega-Cruz once in the head. He died two days later.

“Officer Eulizier discharged his firearm in fear that the operator was about to run him over and that he would lose his own life,” then-Hartford State’s Attorney Gail P. Hardy wrote in her report clearing Eulizier of wrongdoing in March 2020.

Eulizier, who had been with Wethersfield police for eight months, had previously been involved in another deadly shooting as an officer in Manchester. It was determined that his bullets never hit the suspect and the New London State’s Attorney determined that the use of force was justified.

Town Manager Gary Evans declined to comment on the settlement, citing ongoing litigation.

Vega-Cruz’s father, Jose Vega-Cruz, has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the town.

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