City | 5:45 pm | July 11, 2012 | By James Lu

NHPD officer in off-duty shooting fired

The New Haven Police Department put two of three officers involved in an off-duty shooting incident on unpaid leave. The third officer was fired Tuesday.
The New Haven Police Department put two of three officers involved in an off-duty shooting incident on unpaid leave. The third officer was fired Tuesday. Photo by Jacob Geiger.

One of the three New Haven Police Department officers allegedly involved in an April off-duty shooting incident lost his job Tuesday.

After a three-hour, closed-door hearing Tuesday evening, the Board of Police Commissioners fired Lawrence Burns, who is accused of unlawfully firing a city-issued gun at the State Street bar Christopher Martin’s and lying about the incident, the New Haven Register reported. Burns, who has served four years with the NHPD, did not testify at the hearing, since he and officers Charles Kim and Krzystof Ruszczyk still face criminal charges stemming from the incident.

“With a record as stellar as yours, we are quite surprised that you’ve made such an error in judgment,” Commissioner Cathy Graves said to Burns at the hearing, the Register reported. “That error in judgment has shed a very negative light on the New Haven Police Department.”

Burns and Kim are charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, reckless endangerment and interfering with an officer, while Ruszczyk is charged with interfering with a police officer. Kim and Ruszczyk agreed to take unpaid leave from the NHPD until their criminal cases are resolved, but Burns declined those terms.

Incoming police union president Louis Cavaliere Jr. told the Register that the union would file a grievance and hoped see Burns reinstated as an officer.

“I’m going to let the department’s actions speak for themselves,” NHPD Chief Dean Esserman told the Register after the hearing.

Comments