Girlfriend says Norwich shooter had alcohol, mental health problems

The view Wednesday from the stairwell of the exterior of the apartment unit at the Cedar Glen Apartments in Norwich, where a shooter and police were in a standoff for several hours starting Monday afternoon and ended in the early morning hours on Tuesday.
The view Wednesday from the stairwell of the exterior of the apartment unit at the Cedar Glen Apartments in Norwich, where a shooter and police were in a standoff for several hours starting Monday afternoon and ended in the early morning hours on Tuesday. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo

Ashley Thivierge is at a loss to understand how the kind man she loves could have shot a Norwich police officer and then killed himself.

Her boyfriend, Jason Razzino, shot at police Monday afternoon, seriously injuring Norwich Officer Jonathan Ley, and after an 11-hour standoff, police found him dead in his bathroom from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. An autopsy for Razzino is scheduled for sometime this week.

Thivierge lived with Razzino in Cedar Glen Apartments on Cedar Street, but she was not there Monday when the standoff began.

After Thivierge dropped off Razzino's 11-year-old son at the boy's home in Rhode Island, Razzino told her Sunday evening that she should stay in Rhode Island with her mother because he did not want her to drive home late.

Thivierge is expecting their child — a baby girl — next month.

"We're all just really shocked," she said Wednesday. "This wasn't him. We don't know what happened."

Thivierge said Razzino was battling alcoholism and was having a difficult time with withdrawal. He was given medicine to help with the symptoms, but when the medicine would run out, she said, he would have a difficult time getting a refill.

She also said that he was seeking mental health care, but was getting the "runaround."

"He would try to make an appointment, but they would tell him that he needed a referral," she said. "Or if they said they would see him, it was four or five weeks out. He was really upset about the mental health system."

Thivierge said Razzino worked in Salem with mentally disabled people.

When she left on Sunday for Rhode Island, she said Razzino seemed fine and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. But she noticed a change when she talked to him over the phone Monday afternoon. He was upset and seemed inconsolable, she said, and she didn't know what had caused him to become upset.

She said he had called a suicide hot line, had told them he was going to kill himself and had given them his address. The hot line had called the police. Police said that they quickly learned that Razzino was intent on committing "suicide by cop."

"The hardest thing for us right now is that we will never really be able to know what he was thinking," Thivierge said. "I feel like there should have been something that I should have seen."

When Thivierge learned that police were going to the apartment, she called the police, warning them to be careful because he had guns in the house and he wasn't in the right frame of mind.

Thivierge said she knew that Razzino had a rifle and a handgun. She said Razzino had the handgun for protection, and she believed that he legally owned them.

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said whether Razzino had a pistol permit is not public information, but part of the ongoing state police investigation.

Razzino does not appear to have a criminal record in Connecticut. He is originally from Providence and it appears that he had only motor vehicle violations in Rhode Island.

Police said Razzino shot at them first through a door and then a window. Officer Ley is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds. Wednesday evening, he was listed in good condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Three other officers sustained minor injuries.

Thivierge said she spoke to Razzino by phone during the standoff. She said he was upset that he had shot somebody.

"I don't know if that enraged him even more," she said. "He told me he was scared."

Thivierge claimed that Razzino told her that he wanted to surrender, but that police kept shooting at him.

Norwich police have turned over the investigation to state police.

Vance did not respond directly to Thivierge's claim, but did say that local and state police negotiators did everything possible to get Razzino to surrender safely.

Vance said state police cleared the scene at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and tenants who were evacuated from the building had been allowed back into their apartments.

"We are piecing it all together," he said. "We're looking at every aspect of this case. There were lots of shots fired so there is a lot of forensic work to do."

Thivierge said she is trying to remain calm for the sake of her unborn child. She said she plans to keep in close contact with Razzino's family and friends so they can share stories of who the child's father really was.

Thivierge said she last spoke to Razzino around 6 p.m. Monday.

"He told me that he was scared and that he loved me, and that it would probably be the last time we would speak," she said.

And it was.

i.larraneta@theday.com

Hide Comments

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments

THE DAY VIDEO SHORTS