A Deadly Ambush: Ex-Trooper Kills Wife, Himself; Injured Lawyer In Stable Condition
He parked his Dodge Caravan nose-out, so he could watch the lot entrance, and armed with a semiautomatic handgun, he waited.
At 9 sharp, parking attendant Elaine Eldridge opened her small ticket booth at the Court Street entrance, and about 30 minutes later, Bochicchio's wait was over. The former state trooper saw the black minivan carrying his wife, Donna, and her attorney, Julie Porzio, arrive.
As Porzio parked the van, Bochicchio walked across the pavement, opened the passenger's side door and opened fire with his .40-caliber handgun, killing the mother of his two children and wounding the Waterbury lawyer.
Finished, Bochicchio, 47, dressed in shirt and tie, raised the gun to his head and fired once more. Gravely wounded, he slumped against an adjacent vehicle and slid to the ground.
Wednesday's ambush ended what police and the couple's friends described as a protracted, bitter legal battle that began in April 2003 with Michael Bochicchio filing for divorce in Superior Court in Litchfield. The case had been transferred to Middletown where terms of an anticipated settlement leaned heavily in favor of Donna Bochicchio. The pair were due in court Wednesday.
At Hartford Hospital, shortly after 7 p.m., Bochicchio's family took him off life support and donated his organs.
Porzio, 42, wife of former Waterbury Mayor Joseph Santopietro, was listed in stable condition there, where she underwent two separate surgeries, police said. Her family gathered at their home in Waterbury while Santopietro rushed to the hospital with their two small children. Bochicchio's shot struck Porzio's raised hand, face and shoulder. One bullet deflected off her right hand and grazed her cheekbone.
The shootings -- the most serious incident in memory at the Middletown courthouse -- halted court business as police, firefighters and paramedics converged on the lot. Witnesses had heard gunshots shortly after 9:30 a.m. and saw Bochicchio lying on the pavement.
The court building was locked down for about an hour, and later in the afternoon counselors were available to speak with shaken court workers.
Some people in and around the courthouse initially mistook the sound of the gunfire for the hammering of a crew working on the courthouse air conditioning. But when the first sirens wailed and word of the shooting crackled over police radios, courthouse marshals raced around the back of the building.
By then, it was too late.
Waterbury lawyer William Brown had been gathering court files from his car and talking on his cellphone when he heard the shots and looked toward the van.
``I saw a man fall against a car. He lingered there for a while and eventually fell to the ground,'' Brown said. ``That's when I called 911.'' Brown is managing partner of Moynahan, Minnella and Tindall of Waterbury where Porzio worked for about 10 years. He did not know when he phoned police that Porzio was involved in the shooting.
About a dozen Middletown police officers, including Police Chief J. Edward Brymer, were at police headquarters just steps away from the parking lot when the call came over the radio.
Racing through an alley on foot, they found paramedics trying to revive Michael Bochicchio. Donna Bochicchio, 42, who had been shot several times, had no pulse. Porzio was conscious and moving her arms and legs.
``She was talking, so I thought right away that that was a good sign,'' Brymer said.
Middletown police are in charge of the investigation, but state police detectives went over every inch of the crime scene -- searching for bullets in shattered window glass and other evidence under bloodied papers that lined the dashboard of Porzio's van. Police found a gun on the ground next to Michael Bochicchio. Witnesses reported hearing as many as eight shots.
At midday, Middletown Mayor Domenique Thornton addressed the media in an effort to quell fears that a gunman was on the loose. Residents, she said, needed to know the incident stemmed from a domestic dispute.