State's attorney: Use of force justified in officer-involved shooting at Foxwoods

New London State's Attorney Michael Regan announced Friday that a Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police officer was justified in using deadly force during an incident in which a Groton man jumped to his death from the Foxwoods Resort Casino parking garage in September.

Following an investigation and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner's determination that Michael Goodale, 23, committed suicide, Regan said Friday that two shots fired by Sgt. Kevin Leach did not lead to Goodale's death.

"I wish to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Goodale," Regan said in a statement.

Police said on the morning of Sept. 20, Goodale produced a gun as they attempted to serve him with an arrest warrant for violation of probation on the fourth floor of the Fox Tower parking garage.

Goodale refused an order to drop the gun, and at least one officer, Kevin Leach, fired a shot that grazed Goodale's foot, police said. Goodale jumped to his death onto a paved driveway. The medical examiner's office said the cause of death was blunt trauma to the head, torso and extremities.

Sgt. George Potts and Officer Ethan Cohen of the Mashantucket police also responded to the hotel.

Potts said in a written statement that he observed Leach yelling at Goodale to "put the gun down and not to jump."

Cohen said in a statement that Goodale was waving around a semi-automatic handgun, pointing it toward officers and not complying with Leach's commands.

Detectives from the Eastern District Major Crime Squad processed the scene and seized a black BB/pellet style handgun near Goodale's body. Also seized were two spent shell casings from Leach's weapon.

Medical examination revealed Goodale's left foot suffered a gunshot graze wound.

Surveillance video from the Fox Tower garage was seized and corroborated the statements of officers at the scene.

The threatening way Goodale pointed his handgun at officers and his refusal to drop his weapon justified Leach's use of force, Regan said.   

Ordinarily, the chief state's attorney would designate a prosecutorial official from an outside judicial district to conduct an investigation.

But investigators' initial determination was that officers' force did not cause Goodale's death, and officials decided Regan's office and the Eastern District Major Crime Squad would investigate the incident.

No further action will be taken by the Division of Criminal Justice as a result of this incident, Regan said.

b.kail@theday.com

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