Updated 5 p.m. Thursday
'There was no indication,' writes friend
A man who claims to have been "a good friend" of Matthew Lofaro – “going back to high school” – says the suspected robber who was shot dead by a state trooper early Wednesday was "one of the nicest, most genuine people I have known."
"When last I was in touch with him, about a week and a half to two weeks ago, he seemed to be doing really well," Alex Zamachaj writes in a blog post titled, "Another One Bites the Dust."
"There was no indication that something like this could ever transpire...He was the type of person who always looked out for his friends, helping them when he could and never asking for favors.
"I find it very hard to believe that in the course of two weeks, something could have happened which made him stoop to the level of robbery."
Zamachaj writes that Lofaro and his dad had worked together, replacing windows on the same house that the apparent former high school mate was painting this week.
Michael Lofaro is the owner of Milford-based Berkeley Exteriors, a business he founded in 1982, according to Yelp. The listing says Matthew Lofaro started working for the company after college.
"...his son Matt working full time and in training to continue the family business into the future, maintaining Mike's vision and values for a long time to come," reads the last line of the profile.
Lofaro had no prior criminal convictions, according to online court records, but was in the pre-trial stage for an illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle charge that occurred in June in Newtown.
He had entered a not guilty plea and was due in court Nov. 12.
--Milford Man, 28, ID'd as Suspect Shot Dead in Alleged Robbery
Published 3:30 p.m. Thursday
Twenty-eight-year-old Milford resident Matthew Lofaro has been identified as the suspected robber shot dead by a state trooper early Wednesday inside the convenience store of a gas station on the Boston Post Road, police said Thursday.
The trooper who police said shot the suspect when he did not follow his directives has been identified as Trooper First Class James Scott, a 15-year veteran of the Connecticut State Police, according to a statement released by State Master Sgt. Donna Tadiello.
"As per department policy, Trooper Scott is being assigned to departmental administrative duty pending a review of this incident," Tadiello said.
Our original report follows.
Report: Trooper Fatally Shot Masked Robber After Exiting Restroom
Published 11:30 a.m. Thursday
The state trooper who fatally shot a suspected robber at a Milford gas station early Wednesday reportedly confronted the masked man after exiting the convenience store's restroom.
The Connecticut Post reports that the veteran state police officer, whose identity has yet to be released, stepped out of the restroom and was met “by a man in a Ninja mask brandishing a machete-type blade at the store clerk.”
State police said the trooper gave the suspect “directives,” which he did not follow.
“The suspect failed to comply with those directives and forced the trooper to discharge his firearm, striking the suspect,” State Police Master Sgt. Donna Tadiello said in a statement. “The male suspect was subsequently pronounced deceased on scene.”
It’s unclear how many shots the trooper fired. The Post reported that the suspect dropped his weapon after being shot and bloodily “staggered out of the store to collapse and die.”
The store clerk was not injured and the trooper suffered only minor injuries, police said.
As of Thursday morning, the identity of the suspect was still unknown, though, according to a report in the New Haven Register, his name could be released later Thursday.
Tadiello said the fatal shooting happened about 3 a.m. Wednesday at the Patriot Fuels gas station at 719 Boston Post Road. She said the trooper stopped at the business “to conduct a patrol check of the area.”
Patriot Fuels is adjacent to Shoreline Motel to the east and has easy access to a highway to the west.
State police is leading the investigation into the fatal shooting.
“It’s a shame that someone lost their life,” a Milford resident told the Post, “but you can’t ask questions at a time like that, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Charles Poiselle, a Trumbull resident who works at a restaurant further down the Boston Post Road, looked on Wednesday afternoon as investigators surveyed the crime scene.
“This area over here, you know, it’s Milford,” said Poiselle, adding that he last entered the convenience store a few weeks ago. “I never would have thought.”
Regional Editor Gary Jeanfaivre contributed to this report.