A Windsor man charged with the attempted murder of a Buckland Hills Mall security guard was arraigned in court on Monday.
Richard LaPlante, 30, of Windsor appeared at Manchester Superior Court around noon. Judge Sheila M. Prats ordered that his bail remain at $1 million, court records show.
LaPlante is charged with shooting 27-year-old security guard Tirso Polanco in the stomach at close range after the guard confronted him about shoplifting from a Macy’s department store at Buckland Hills Mall, according to the Manchester Police Department, court records and the warrant obtained by the Courant.
Police issued a warrant for his arrest and he turned himself in Saturday night, according to police. He faces charges of attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and carrying a handgun without a permit, court records show.
In the warrant for LaPlante, a second loss prevention officer told police that Polanco spotted LaPlante shoplifting and confronted him. LaPlante pulled out a small silver handgun, the warrant said, and the two struggled over the gun inside and outside of the store.
According to the warrant, LaPlante pushed the gun up against Polanco’s stomach and fired a single shot.
The bullet tore through Polanco’s gray T-shirt, leaving a hole and burn marks, police said. A small piece of his shirt was later found lodged in a gun that was found near a dumpster where LaPlante was seen hiding out, according to police.
The bullet struck several of Polanco’s internal organs, according to police. He was in critical condition on Saturday, police said, and remained in the hospital as of Monday afternoon.
“Medical professionals said he will require several additional surgeries to repair the damage,” police said in the warrant.
According to police, LaPlante also does not have a valid Connecticut pistol permit.
After shooting Polanco, LaPlante ran away from the mall and hid out by a nearby dumpster, the warrant said. He was seen on surveillance footage from Macy’s running toward the Fairfield Inn and Suites hotel at 121 Pavilions Dr. in Manchester and hiding behind the dumpster for a few minutes around 12:15 p.m. before taking off again, leaving the view of the camera.
Police searched the area near the dumpster and found a bundle of black fabric. Inside was a small silver handgun, police said. The gun was the same brand, color and caliber of the gun used in the shooting. A small piece of gray fabric matching Polanco’s shirt was found in the upper receiver of the firearm, according to police.
Police also recovered a single bullet casing at the scene of the shooting, according to the warrant.
Police showed surveillance photos of LaPlante from Macy’s to the second loss prevention officer who saw the shoplifting and the shooting. The officer, who wasn’t named in the warrant, confirmed that the man on the video was the shooter. He was wearing red Nike slide sandals with socks and a dark blue jersey from a local basketball league that said “Savage City” with a picture of a tiger and the number 47 on the back, police said.
The guard also picked LaPlante out of a photo lineup, police said.
Police showed the surveillance images of LaPlante to CT transit workers and located more surveillance footage on local buses before and after the shooting. The videos show LaPlante taking a bus from Windsor to the mall, then getting back on another bus near the mall and riding to the area of East Wolcott Avenue and Windsor Avenue in Windsor before 2 p.m.
Police assumed he got off the bus near his home, so they contacted Windsor police, who reviewed booking photos and identified LaPlante as a match. Their records showed that he lived about one mile away from the bus stop, according to the warrant.
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Police went to his address and spoke with his father, who he lives with. He gave them permission to search his bedroom, where officers spotted the red Nike slides and the “Savage City” jersey, the warrant said.
According to the warrant, police showed LaPlante’s father, Jackson LaPlante, photos from Macy’s surveillance and asked “this is your son, correct?”
“Yes,” his father replied, according to the warrant.
In court on Monday, Judge Prats also ordered that if LaPlante posts bail, he will be required to be on 24/7 lockdown and to wear a GPS monitor, according to court records.
His case was transferred to Part A court in Hartford, where major crimes are heard. He is scheduled to appear in court next on Sept. 7.
Police ask that anyone with information on the shooting contact the lead investigator, Detective Claire Hearn, at 860-645-5549 or the Manchester Police Department at 860-645-5500.