Medal of Valor to Be Awarded to Middletown Detective for Capture of Murder Suspect
Middletown Police Department Detective Walter Mey chased down and captured suspect Zachary J. Lepelusa, on March 29 following the stabbing death and kidnapping of Antoinette Venditti Bruce of East Haven, CT.
The New England Association of Chiefs’ of Police and the Medal of Valor Award Program have notified the Middletown Police Department that Detective Walter C. Mey Jr. has been chosen to receive the prestigious award, according to an announcement released by Middletown Police Chief Anthony Pesare.
In a letter from the Association, Chief Kevin J. Hale, awards committee chairman wrote, “The actions of this officer on March 29, 2011 were outstanding. This officer acted without hesitation and without regard for his own safety in trying to find and save a gravely injured and kidnapped woman. Without wasting a moment’s time, this officer heroically chased and then caught a dangerous felon, all the while trying to find the victim to render aid. Tragically, his effort and that of his fellow officers to save the victim was to no avail.”
Detective Mey will be honored on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011 at the annual banquet of the New England Association of Chiefs of Police, at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, MA.
Detective Mey chased down through a farm field and apprehended murder suspect Zachary J. Lepelusa, of Milford, CT, on March 29 after Lepelusa allegedly murdered and kidnapped Antoinette Venditti Bruce of East Haven, CT. in broad daylight outside a hotel in Middletown, where she was staying while in Rhode Island on company business.
Lepelusa has been charged with one felony count of murder and one felony count of kidnapping. His case currently is being reviewed by a Grand Jury, with investigators hoping for the indictment to be handed down before the end of September.
Bruce and Lepelusa previously worked together in Connecticut at a Christmas Tree Shops store, but further details about their interactions in and out of work have remained under investigation, according to Middletown police. Lepelusa no longer worked for the company and Bruce, who was married, was in Middletown for two weeks to assist in a temporary retail reconfiguration project at the local Christmas Tree Shops store on East Main Road.
The first-degree murder charge alleges that Lepelusa had intended, or premeditated, the attack on Bruce when he met with her in the hotel parking lot and stabbed her to death.