Violent incidents reported near lake
WINSTED — Two separate violent incidents near Highland Lake in the past month resulted in hospitalizations, one significant enough to require a LifeStar helicopter and recovery in a rehabilitation facility.Winchester Police Chief Robert Scannell confirmed this week that the department is investigating an incident that took place some time between Friday night, Oct. 28, and early Saturday, Oct. 29, in which a local resident, Brandon Gurtowsky, 27, was brutally assaulted, somewhere near Resha Beach. Gurtowsky suffered traumatic head injuries, facial fractures and shattered hands in the attack, and was reportedly dropped off at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington by friends after the incident. Gurtowsky traveled by LifeStar helicopter to Hartford Hospital, where he spent a week in an induced coma with cerebral hemorrhaging.It wasn’t until noon on Saturday, Oct. 29, that the Winchester Police Department received a call from Torrington police indicating that the assault may have happened in Winsted.“We’re pretty sure it happened near the Resha Beach parking lot, however we’re no closer to an arrest,” Scannell said Tuesday. “But there has been very limited cooperation from the witnesses.”Gurtowsky was hospitalized at Hartford Hospital and is now recovering from severe facial fractures, a broken jaw and broken hands, according to his girlfriend, Amy Root. Root said in an interview Tuesday that Gurtowsky and two friends were traveling together in a friend’s car Oct. 28 and that she doesn’t know who attacked Gurtowsky.“For some reason his friends aren’t saying anything,” Root said. “Someone might have been trying to blame him for something that was stolen.”Root acknowledged that Gurtowsky has had some trouble in the past. “He’s from Winsted and he used to be a troublemaker,” she said. “The cops don’t really like him because when he was younger he was in a lot of trouble, but he’s grown up.”Chief Scannell said the department does not yet have suspects in the case and that the timing of the call, along with uncooperative witnesses, has made for a difficult investigation.“We were alerted at noon the following day by Torrington police, who told us the victim had been dropped at Charlotte at 2 a.m. [on Oct. 29],” he said. “They started an investigation and they determined the incident might have happened up here. They got in touch with us, but needless to say, some of the tracks were cold.”Root said she is concerned that Gurtosky’s friends have been unwilling to explain what happened. “Everyone is saying something different, and his friends won’t speak up,” she said. “They’re saying they don’t remember. I was home sleeping, and I got a phone call that he was being LifeStared to Hartford. I think someone wanted to kill him.”Gurtowsky remains in a rehabilitation facility in Hartford with his jaw wired shut and a tracheotomy in place. Root said he is expected to remain in rehabilitation for at least two weeks.In a separate case, Scannell said another fight occurred Oct. 14 near Highland Lake, in which an unidentified 17-year-old male resident of the Highland Lake area received numerous lacerations requiring hospitalization. “It appears that these are people who know each other,” the chief said regarding the victim and the suspects. The exact nature of the fight is not known, the chief said, but the department does expect to make arrests in the case. “We have identified suspects,” he said.Scannell said Highland Lake residents are not in danger and that the two violent incidents are coincidental and appear to involve people who know each other. He asked anyone with information about either incident to contact the Winchester Police Department at 860-379-2721.