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Officer cleared of failing to help shooting victim



Published: Tue, May 3, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The officer said he was never told the man had been shot.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A city police officer accused of failing to help a man shot in the chest has been cleared of wrongdoing.

A police department internal affairs investigation done by Lt. Thomas Skoczylas states that, after reviewing all the statements regarding the event, he finds the only policy that Patrolman Michael Albanese violated was not having his mobile video recorder turned on.

Police Chief John Mandopoulos approved Skoczylas' findings. Mandopoulos could not be reached to comment.

Matthew Burroughs, 30, of Draper Street Southeast, filed a complaint stating that he was shot March 18 and that the officer did not help him.

Burroughs' story

Burroughs said he was at a bar with a friend on St. Patrick's Day. He said he and his friend left and were on their way home when he was shot on Central Parkway while in the car's front passenger seat.

After he was shot, the driver of the car, Victor Reghetti, got out of the vehicle and confronted the shooter, Burroughs said.

Burroughs and Reghetti then went back to the bar they had just left because they remembered a cruiser was in the parking lot, Burroughs said.

When Burroughs and the driver reached the officer, Burroughs said he was doubled over in pain and his friend told the cop he had been shot and needed help.

Burroughs told police that the officer drove by him but never said anything directly to him. Burroughs said the police officer told the two to go to the hospital and file a report in the morning.

Albanese's version

Albanese filed a written statement to the internal affairs officer saying he was never told the man had been shot. He said a woman told him that a man was hurt.

"I drove over to the parking lot and pulled up to this subject and asked him what's going on; he didn't answer. I asked him if he was hurt; he still didn't answer," Albanese statement reads. "At that time the two people that I was talking to walked up to him and said, come on, we'll take you to the hospital, and all three of them walked away from the cruiser."

Victor Reghetti, who was driving the car, gave a statement to police stating that he told the officer his friend had been shot and the officer advised him to take his friend to the hospital.

"So I got Matt back to my car, put him in it, and he wanted to stop at the house and get Jamie, his wife, because he knew that she would freak out over this," Reghetti's statement reads.

Skoczylas, however, states he feels the two men were involved in some other activity that went wrong. He also noted in his report that the accuracy of Burroughs statement may have been affected because of the chest trauma and that he had a blood alcohol content of 0.14.

"The complainant was shot and is attempting to hide the facts of what actually occurred," Skoczylas said. "I find it very hard to believe that when a friend has been shot, you would confront the shooter instead of immediately seeking medical help for your friend. Even after the incident was over, the two went to the victim's residence before seeking medical attention. I feel that Burroughs is attempting to use this complaint as a way of turning the attention from the incident and himself, onto the police department."




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