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Man surrenders peacefully after Norwich police surround house

Izaskun E. Larraneta

Publication: theday.com

Published December 24. 2013 8:00AM   Updated December 24. 2013 11:51PM
Tim Cook/The Day
A local man receives a hug and emotional support from a family friend as he is taken into custody by Norwich Police officers after a multiple-hour standoff at 5 Great Plain Road in Norwich Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. The standoff which started around 2 a.m. ended peacefully.

Norwich — A more than eight-hour long standoff at a house at 5 Great Plain Road ended peacefully Tuesday morning when a man who had made threats toward police surrendered himself.

Capt. Patrick Daley said police were called to the house at about 2 a.m. for a report of a domestic violence dispute. An unidentified woman who lives at the home was outside when police arrived.

Daley said the man still inside, later identified as 32-year-old Anthony L. Lafemina, made threats to harm the house and the officers outside.

When police arrived at the home, Lafemina refused to open the door and allow officers to speak with him. Daley said the tactical unit, police armed with rifles and protective gear, was called in and communicated with Lafemina by first shouting through the door and then by phone. A family friend was also allowed to communicate with him.

Police closed the intersection of Nordon Avenue and Great Plain Road during the standoff. There was no evacuation in the residential neighborhood, which is dotted with ranch-style homes and is close to Three Rivers Community College. Crews from Norwich Public Utilities, however, were called to shut off gas to the house.

About seven hours into the standoff, one officer who appeared to be holding a baton-like stick used it to knock on the home's doors and windows. Twenty minutes later, the tactical unit surrounded the front and side of the house, using hand gestures to communicate.

The woman believed to be involved in the domestic disturbance was also brought to the scene.

Just after 10:30 a.m., Lafemina exited the house and was handcuffed. The family friend who had communicated with Lafemina hugged him and then placed the hood from his sweatshirt onto his head. The family friend was visibly upset and wiped away tears.

"It's the holiday. ... It's the kind of outcome you look for," said Daley.

Other officers could also be seen patting the man on his shoulders in a consolatory gesture.

Lafemina was taken to The William W. Backus Hospital for evaluation. He was later charged with second-degree breach of peace and third-degree assault and was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond. He is due in court on Thursday.

Daley said "there was a huge amount of relief" among officers that the standoff ended without injuries. Lafemina did not have a weapon, he said.

It was less than a year ago that Norwich Police Officer Jonathan Ley was shot while responding to a Jan. 7 standoff with a despondent man at the Cedar Glen Apartments. Ley was shot four times by assailant Jason Razzino, who committed suicide after a long standoff with police.

"I was there, and it's something that always weighs on your mind when you get the call for something like this," Daley said.

Daley said the circumstances of Tuesday's incident did not warrant a call to state police.

Neighbors described the neighborhood as quiet and were surprised to see the nearly dozen police cruisers and a tactical van surrounding their neighborhood.

A neighbor who lives next door at 7 Great Plain Road said police told her to remain indoors and stay away from all windows.

Another neighbor, Harold Knight, who lives across the street, said that he and his wife were in bed at about 2 a.m. when they heard screaming. He said the couple's middle-school aged girl was in the yard, screaming.

He said it was quiet a short time later when his wife went to take the dog outside.

Knight said he believed the three people have lived in the neighborhood for about two years. He said he had heard loud arguments coming from the house before.

"I'm just worried about the young girl," said Knight before the standoff ended. "I hope she's OK."

Land records show the home is owned by Yan Lai Shao and Xuan Lai Shao of Norwich.

i.larraneta@theday.com

Staff writer Greg Smith contributed to this report.

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