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Shoot-out wounds man, 2 officers at Conn. motel

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. -- Two police officers and a suspect they were trying to evict at a Route 1 motel were shot yesterday when they exchanged gunfire outside a second-floor room.

Both officers are expected to recover, said Sergeant J. Paul Vance, a State Police spokesman. The suspect, whose identity was withheld, was seriously injured.

Detective Sergeant Gean Heiney and Officer William Bergantino were taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital and listed in fair condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

A bullet grazed Heiney's head, while Bergantino was shot in the foot and torso, hospital officials said.

Tushar Dadarwala, owner of the Knights Inn motel on Route 1, said he called police about noon when a man refused to leave his room after spending the night. Three officers were in the motel, Dadarwala said, when shots rang out.

''We all heard gunshots . . . then the police officer came down with his head bleeding," Dadarwala said.

Vance said officers also learned New London police had a warrant for the man on a weapons violation. As they entered his room, he opened fire, and the officers retreated to the hallway, Vance said.

The suspect continued shooting as he tried to run from the hotel, and the officers returned fire.

''It's safe to state that one of the officers is extremely fortunate. The vest was instrumental in saving his life," Vance said.

The suspect was airlifted to Hartford Hospital. His condition was not immediately available.

It was the first time in more than 20 years that officers of the small waterfront town had been involved in a shooting, said Old Saybrook police Lieutenant Michael Spera.

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