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WILLIMANTIC, CT – The man accused of ambushing and shooting a police officer in Willimantic is expected to appear in court Wednesday.

Andrew Samuolis, 34, is being held on $1-million bond and could face a judge in Danielson Superior Court after police said he shot the officer and fled the scene, forcing law enforcement officials to launch a massive manhunt that eventually led to an unfortunate encounter with a Channel 3 Eyewitness News crew that was in the area. The chaotic chain of events began around 11:15 a.m. at a home on
Tunxis Lane. Police said they received a call asking someone to check on a resident that had not been seen or heard from in quite some time. When the unidentified officer arrived at the home, police said Samuolis ambushed him, shot him and took off into the woods.

Dozens of law enforcement officials rushed to the scene, including Connecticut State Police Troopers, K9 units and the CSP helicopter, Trooper One. Willimantic Police Chief Lisa Maruzo-Bolduc said off-duty officers rushed to the scene after getting word of the shooting and manhunt to assist in any way possible. She said she believes the actions of the off-duty officers helped capture Samuolis before the situation got worse. During the massive manhunt, a news crew had an unfortunate encounter with Samuolis. A photographer captured him walking out of the woods behind a home and pointed his gun to his temple. At that point, Samuolis noticed the crew and pointed the gun in their direction. The photographer immediately backed away before shots could be heard coming from the area where Samuolis had been standing.

“Just saw the suspect fire shots. My photographer and I hit the ground, called 911,” Channel 3 Eyewitness News reported Kim Lucey tweeted. “Suspect was wearing tan shorts, vest. Made motion he was going to shoot himself, shot toward street instead.”A short time later, Samuolis was brought into custody with the help of a K9 unit. At the time of his arrest, Samuolis was wearing a tan vest and had something smeared on his face. He was brought to a hospital to be treated for dog bites and then transferred to the police station. Police would not release too much information about the police officer that was shot, and only said he has been a member of the Willimantic Police Department for the past six years and is married with no children. “It’s stressful for the officers, for the officers’ families, and we are very happy everyone is doing well at this time,” Maruzo-Bolduc said. She said the officer was shot in the arm and was brought to the hospital where he was listed in stable condition.

As the intensity of the situation began to wind down and more information was learned, police said they returned to the home where the entire ordeal began and said a man was found dead inside. “I’m really thankful that the man didn’t come in our backyard,” neighbor Mark Graves Jr. said. “I’m really thankful that my family is OK and that no gunshots went off and ricocheted in my house and that no innocent bystanders are dead. That’s all I’m thankful for.” Law enforcement officials said the chief medical examiner will perform an autopsy to figure out how the man died and how long his bodymay have been inside the home.

Police said they recovered a long rifle at the home, and when Samuolis was arrested they recovered a handgun.

They would not say which gun was used to shoot the officer.

Samuolis is now facing a number of charges including three counts of criminal attempted assault on a public safety officer, threatening, breach of peace and interfering with a police officer.The investigation is still ongoing, and more charges may be filed.