Domestic violence call led to standoff, deadly explosion


NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut woman’s call to police to report domestic violence led to a standoff and explosion in a barn behind her home that left one person dead and nine officers injured, officials said Thursday.

The officers were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries after the Wednesday night blast and the remains of one unidentified person were found in a building at the home in North Haven, State Police Trooper Kelly Grant said at a news conference.

Grant said she couldn’t confirm the identity of the body until an autopsy was completed. The woman was not at the home when police arrived Wednesday night, but Grant declined to release her condition, saying it was part of the investigation.

The owners of the property, Deborah and John Sayre, were going through a divorce, according to court records.

Deborah Sayre filed for divorce on April 18 and checked a box for a line that said the marriage had “broken down irretrievably.” She did not immediately return a phone message Thursday.

North Haven Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Mulhern said a woman called police to report domestic violence and police tried for hours to coax the man outside.

“Come out, John,” police said into a bullhorn aimed at the house before the explosion.

All nine officers remained hospitalized Thursday. They were members of the regional tactical team, and included five from East Haven, three from North Haven, and one from Branford.

“They all did suffer injuries that were consistent with the blast,” Mulhern said. “This impacted not only the North Haven Police Department, not only our community, but this is a far reaching incident to the other communities that serve the south central region.”

Firefighters on Thursday continued to battle the barn fire that also damaged other structures and vehicles.

Residents near the home said on the police department’s Facebook page that they heard the explosion and felt their own homes shake. Additional police rushed to the scene as the fire raged, and sounds of smaller explosions also were heard.

North Haven resident Joan Mazurek, 76, a retired accountant, heard what she thought was a train at her home about a mile away from the scene. It was the explosion.

“Then we heard all the, oh my God, all the ambulances and fire engines. The noise from all the emergency vehicles was unbelievable,” she said. “It’s a shock. Nothing ever happens like this in North Haven.”

State police said they had taken over the investigation. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the scene.

North Haven is located just outside of New Haven, home to Yale University.

This image provided by WFSB-TV shows a fire behind a house in North Haven, Conn., Wednesday, May 2, 2018. A barn behind a house in Connecticut exploded Wednesday night while police and a SWAT team were negotiating with a man who had taken his wife hostage, leaving at least six officers injured, state police and a town official said. (WFSB-TV via AP)
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