By Associated Press - Saturday, December 7, 2019

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut judge granted an order preventing a town from taking the next step to potentially fire a police officer for shooting his gun 13 times at an unarmed couple’s car and wounding a 22-year-old woman.

A judge granted an injunction filed on behalf of Hamden Police Officer Devin Eaton to block the city’s Police Commission from ruling on an earlier recommendation that Eaton be fired, Mayor Curt Leng told the New Haven Register.

Leng said the judge granted the injunction Friday.

Acting Hamden Police Chief John Cappiello made the firing recommendation to the Hamden Police Board of Police Commissioners last month.

“I’m very disappointed by the decision the court made to grant this injunction,” Leng said Friday. “We fought it today and we will fight it further. We’re exploring our legal options and strategies to do so.”

Eaton pleaded not guilty last month to criminal charges of assault and reckless endangerment for the April 16 shooting in New Haven. Eaton has been on unpaid leave since late October when he was criminally charged. He will remain on unpaid leave until the internal case concludes.

Eaton and a Yale University officer shot at the couple’s car while investigating a reported attempted robbery in Hamden, authorities said. The Yale officer wasn’t charged.

Eaton opened fire when the driver, Paul Witherspoon III, exited the car unexpectedly, officials said.

Witherspoon wasn’t hurt. His girlfriend, Stephanie Washington, suffered serious injuries.

Eaton’s next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.

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