The towns of Easton, Monroe and Trumbull have announced that “a reasonable settlement” was reached in the lawsuit brought by the estate of Gonzalo Guizan, according to Thomas A. Herrmann, Easton first selectman.
Mr. Guizan was shot during a Southwest Emergency Response Team operation conducted in Easton on May 18, 2008, pursuant to a valid search warrant, Mr. Herrmann said.
“While the defendants, police departments and officers from Darien, Easton, Trumbull, Monroe and Wilton maintain they were not responsible for the unfortunate death of Mr. Guizan, the insurers for the defendants, who will bear the full cost of the settlement, believed that it was best to resolve the matter rather than incur further attorneys’ fees, which were anticipated to be significant,” Mr. Herrmann said.
The defendants concurred that it was important to facilitate the Guizan family being relieved of the continued burden of litigation, Mr. Herrmann. The settlement was fully insured and will not have a direct cost to the towns. Specific terms of the settlement are still being resolved among the parties, he said.
The defendants and their insurers will continue to litigate the case brought by Ronald Terebesi, whose home was the object of the search warrant, who claims he sustained physical and emotional damages.
The search warrant upon which the SWERT team acted that day was a valid one, according to Catherine S. Nietzel of Ryan Ryan Deluca LLP of Stamford, the attorney representing the Town of Easton. Ms. Nietzel said the District Court issued that ruling upholding the validity of the warrant in its ruling last year. affirming the propriety of her clients’ actions in securing the warrant.
The police raid
The May 18 police raid was triggered by a tip from an exotic dancer who reported seeing drug activity there, court documents disclosed. Police first surrounded and then burst into the Dogwood Drive home, with many officers dressed in full black uniforms with Kevlar vests and helmets, and deploying flashbang grenades used to disorient and distract the occupants.
Upon entry, police were met by the homeowner, Mr. Terebesi, 42, and Mr. Guizan, 33, of Norwalk, who allegedly charged, “physically encountering two police officers,” according to the report from the state police.
At least one of the two officers fired his gun, fatally wounding Mr. Guizan, according to the report. The office of the chief state medical examiner determined that Mr. Guizan died of multiple gunshot wounds and listed the death as a homicide.
During the subsequent search of the house, no weapons were discovered, according to John Solomon, who was Easton police chief at the time.
Mr. Guizan, Mr. Terebesi and two officers involved in the confrontation were taken by EMS to area hospitals. Mr. Guizan was pronounced dead upon arrival. The three others were all treated for non-life threatening injuries and released.