How does a police officer feel after shooting a teenager to death, apparently in error? The Hartford Courant reports that every day, Hartford police officer Robert Lawlor, 42, replays the events that led him to shoot. and kill a teenager more than a year ago. “Unless you’ve been through something like this, you have no idea how devastating it is,” he says. Lawlor, is facing possible criminal charges in the shooting death of Jashon Bryant, 18, who was killed May 2, 2005. Lawlor has said he thought he saw Bryant reaching for a gun. No gun was ever found. A prosecutor last week concluded that the shooting was not justified.
Lawlor, who has served on many specialized task forces and has a reputation as an aggressive street cop, said nothing in his career has affected him so profoundly. “In my 18 years on the job, I have been stabbed, beaten up and I’ve had guns pulled on me on almost a daily basis,” he said. “But the incident on May 7, 2005, just changed everything. It was like the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Lawlor said he has undergone extensive psychotherapy to help him cope with the aftershocks of the incident, adding that he is still taking antidepressants and other medications to help him function every day. He said: ” It’s been unbelievable. Nightmares every night, the shakes. I’ve been a wreck.” Lawlor has been working at a desk job since the shooting. He never again wants to work as a street cop.