HARTFORD, Vt. – A man repeatedly punched and attempted to strangle a Hartford police officer before he was shot and killed by the officer, the Vermont State Police said.
The Hartford Police Officer who was attacked is Eric Clifford, a 12-year veteran of the Hartford Police Department. The deceased man is identified as Joseph John Howard, 35, of Bradford.
Investigators say a Paula Street resident called police at 1:30 p.m. Thursday to report Howard creating a disturbance outside the home. Howard charged Officer Clifford, who attempted to stop the assault with pepper spray.
Both men fell to the ground, where the man repeatedly punched the officer in the head and strangled him. Police said the officer was able to fire his service weapon. Howard was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officer Clifford was placed on administrative leave after being treated and released from the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. Howards body was transported to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy.
The investigation by state police detectives continues and will involve reviewing body-camera video and interviewing witnesses.