Two Norfolk city SWAT officers shot and killed a 25-year-old cancer survivor Monday night.
Dylan Pape, a Norwalk Community College student, was confronted by police after his family called 911 saying Pape was threatening them with a gun. A Special Response Team, Hostage Negotiation Team, K-9 Unit, and SWAT team arrived at Pape’s home on Wedgemere Road at 7:45pm. Neighbor Todd Buccheri said he woke to 10 or 15 police cars outside his home.
“Somebody came to the door and said there was somebody with a gun and we had to evacuate our house,” Buccheri told the media.
After an hour long standoff, two SWAT officers stormed in and shot Pape in the torso, later discovering his gun was fake. Pape was taken to Stamford Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Another neighbor, Russell Hart, said he heard fighting in the house early in the evening and then a police megaphone.
“I heard some screaming or shouting and it went on for quite a while,” Hart said. “Then suddenly, I heard four very loud shots in rapid succession. I was surprised. They were really loud.”
The officers claim the gun looked like a black semiautomatic pistol. Chief State Attorney Kevin Kane and Danbury State Attorney Stephen Sedensky are leading the investigation. Stamford Mayor David Martin said, “Today is a sad day in our community. Any loss of life, no matter the circumstance, is tragic for all involved. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and our police officers.”
Connecticut ACLU lawyer David McGuire said, “We do not know what happened to Dylan Pape, and we have no assurances, under Connecticut law, that we ever will. This is sadly not the first time that a SWAT unit has killed someone in a Connecticut home. Connecticut residents need and deserve transparency about how, when, and why police use SWAT units.”
Stamford Police Union President Sean Boeger responded saying, “The point is, our officers are here to protect the public while looking out for our own safety and if you look at the history of the Stamford police department we are head and shoulders above what you see in the rest of the nation.”
The State Medical Examiner ruled Pape’s death a “suicide” claiming he intentionally put himself in harm’s way by threatening police with the fake weapon.
Dylan Pape was attending community college aspiring to work in health care after surviving childhood cancer. He graduated Stamford High School in 2008 and enrolled in the Norwalk Community College nursing program, paid for through scholarships from The Susan Fund, which provides financial aid to childhood cancer survivors.
The Fund describes Pape on its website saying, “His cancer experience has shaped the focus of his life. He enjoys interacting with people and feels that he has developed a deep compassion for others. His reference noted that Dylan exemplifies the courage and determination of scholarship honorees.”
At the time of his death, he was employed with Astacio Plumbing & Heating in Stamford. He leaves behind an older sister, Amanda Pape, who went on to lead the Sacred Heart University women’s basketball team to victory.