Witnesses to Woody's Slaying
Of the approximately 70 people in the congregation present when Woody entered the church, 18 paid heed to his pleas to stay and bear witness. These witnesses were all present when police fired the at least seven rounds at Woody. Accounts by these witnesses vary somewhat as to just how much time elapsed between the entry of the police into the church, and the firing of the first and remaining shots. All of the witnesses who spoke publicly in the wake of the shooting were in agreement that Woody never threatened anyone but himself, and the subsequently released statements of all 18 eyewitnesses are essentially unanimous in that conclusion. Tommy Thomas, the former president of the church, went so far as to say:
|I haven't heard any member of the congregation say that they felt threatened by Woody.|
and testified to a forum of about 200 people that Woody was shot while down, and spoke for other witnesses by referring to "what we thought we saw." Thomas died suddenly 9 days later. Attorney Generals Sorrell's report only refers to his December 2 written statement, not his other public statements, including interviews by Hartford Courant reporters, in which he was more explicit about the positions of the officers during the shooting.
The acting minister of the church, Rev. Deborah Mero, was outside when the shots were fired. The president of the church, Charles Butterfield, was in his office when the shots were fired.
After the release of Sorrell's report, the statements and interviews of all of the 18 eyewitnesses became available, and will eventually be posted in their entirety here. All of the witnesses questioned on whether Woody threatened anyone but himself (17 or 18) all clearly stated that he did not.