John Tozzi, 61, the man shot by a New Paltz officer during a standoff in October of 2015, has died in the hospital, according to Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright.
Officers from the New Paltz Police Department went to Tozzi’s apartment, located at Route 32 South near Brookside Road in New Paltz, on October 24, 2015 in response to a domestic violence complaint filed earlier that evening. According to Carnright, as one of the officers approached the door to the apartment, his partner observed, through a window, a man approaching the door with a gun. Just as the officer called out to his partner, Tozzi allegedly fired one round from a high-powered rifle, which went through the metal door where the officer had been standing a moment before.
Multiple officers arrived at the scene. From his barricaded position inside, Carnright said that Tozzi allegedly fired at least eight more rounds at officers as they took cover crouched behind their cars. Three separate police vehicles were struck. “During the stand-off, as Tozzi approached a back window, a [New Paltz] officer returned fire, firing one round which struck Tozzi in the chest,” said Carnright in a prepared statement. “He was taken to a Westchester County hospital where he remained until approximately two weeks ago when he was transferred to a local medical facility. His condition deteriorated and, earlier this week, he died.”
Carnright said that no criminal charges were filed against Tozzi. “Instead, I advised the agencies involved that this office was preparing a presentation to the Ulster County grand jury seeking an indictment for multiple counts of attempted murder in the first degree (murder of a police officer) against Tozzi,” said Carnright. “The reason for not filing the charges before the Grand Jury presentation was simply a practical one. Once charges are filed against a defendant, that individual becomes the responsibility of the arresting agency. Here, it would have become necessary to post around-the-clock security at the hospital. In addition, I am advised that potentially, expenses regarding medical procedures following arrest could become the responsibility of the county. Given Mr. Tozzi’s condition and the fact that he was not medically able to leave the hospital, I suggested that we delay the filing of the criminal charges pending the grand jury indictment, and we have been monitoring Mr. Tozzi’s medical condition.”
Carnright added that it has been the policy of the District Attorney’s office to present police-officer-related shooting incidents to the grand jury “and it is our intent to do so in this instance as well. That matter has not yet been scheduled.” Carnright said that this “in no way reflects an opinion one way or the other regarding any wrong doing” by the New Paltz veteran police officer who fired the shot at Tozzi.