PLAINVILLE - A New Britain man who allegedly tried to commit suicide by cop, brandishing what looked like a real gun while reporting himself to police as an active shooter, has been denied a chance to use a program that could have spared him prosecution.
The incident prompted a response from the area SWAT team and the evacuation of a local shopping plaza in Decmber.
Eduardo Rivera, 44, appeared Thursday in Bristol Superior Court, where Judge John Cronan made a finding that the case is too serious for the psychiatric diversionary program. The program is designed for defendants with psychiatric, mental or emotional issues, and it allows them to receive treatment while also avoiding a conviction.
In making his finding, Cronan said the charges are “far too severe” for the program. He added that he believes a deal could possibly be worked out that would spare Rivera jail time and include probation.
Rivera, who is free on a promise to appear, is scheduled to appear in New Britain court on Oct. 1.
He was arrested Dec. 28, when he allegedly bought a plastic gun that fires pellets from Dick’s Sporting Goods and called police to report a gunman in the Connecticut Commons Plaza, located at 282 New Britain Ave., according to the police report. Police said in the document that he painted the orange tip of the gun black to make it look like a real firearm, and that he admitted it was an attempt at suicide by cop.
The incident prompted a SWAT response and the evacuation of the shopping plaza. According to police, Rivera wanted an officer to shoot and kill him after voices in his head had instructed him what to do.
According to the police report, Rivera said that he “hears voices telling him to do bad things.” He also said what he did was the result of being “commanded” by these voices and that he has tried to commit suicide in the past.
Rivera faces charges of first-degree falsely reporting an incident, interfering with an officer, carrying a dangerous weapon, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree breach of peace.
Police spent about two hours trying to speak with Rivera, who was found behind the sporting goods building, holding what looked like a real Sig Sauer pistol. He ignored the officer’s numerous commands to drop the weapon and moved in a “trance like state” to the loading dock area in the rear of Dick’s, the police report said.
The area SWAT was called to respond and ultimately apprehended Rivera after he was shot with a nonlethal beanbag.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or email@example.com.