Mass murder suspect David Laffer grabbed a gun belonging to a Suffolk County police officer and refused to let go of it as he was being taken down inside his house in Medford Wednesday, court papers obtained by Newsday state.
Those court documents also detail how James Manzella Jr., 36, of Farmingville, the fiance of victim Jaime Taccetta, stumbled upon the bloody murder scene inside Haven Drugs on Sunday -- and how he "freaked out" when he realized what had happened inside the store.
The unemployed Laffer, 33, of Medford, who once served in the Army, has been charged with first-degree murder and resisting arrest, accused of shooting in cold blood four people inside the pharmacy on Southaven Avenue in Medford Sunday.
Arrest photos show the scrawny Laffer sporting bruises on his face, including a black eye. Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer attributed the injuries to the fact he violently resisted arrest.
The court papers included a sworn statement by one of the arresting officers, who gave this account of the take down of Laffer at 10:08 a.m.:
"The defendant, while being taken to the ground, grabbed and held onto the undersigned officer's weapon. The defendant was struck until he released the weapon and proceeded to roll onto his stomach with his arms tucked under his body . . . The undersigned with the assistance of another officer was able to pry the subject's hands from under his body and put them behind his back and apply handcuffs."
The court papers also include a sworn account by Manzella, describing how he had taken his fiance, Taccetta, to the pharmacy to pick up her thyroid prescription -- and how he stumbled on the horrific scene inside the store after seeing Laffer exit the building.
In those papers, Manzella said he was waiting in the parking lot in his black Jeep Cherokee, his air conditioner running, listening to the radio.
He said he had listened to "about two songs" and thought it was taking Taccetta a long time to pick up her medicine.
Then, he said he saw a man he later identified as Laffer.
"I was listening to the radio and I heard about two songs," Manzella said in those court papers, "when I looked out my driver's side mirror and saw a white male walk out of [the] pharmacy with a dark backpack over one of his shoulders. This guy looked unshaven and was in his late 20s or early 30s. This guy had a large, hook-shaped nose and he was thin."
Manzella stated he saw the man walk out of the store alone and head toward Southaven Avenue across the grass and then east down Southaven.
"I was thinking that it was taking Jaime a long time so I got out of my Jeep and walked into the pharmacy. That is when I saw Jaime laying on the floor with blood near her.
"I thought she had a seizure, but then I saw a man in a lab coat also on the floor with blood around him.
"I freaked out and left the store and called 911."
While he was calling 911 Manzella said he saw a woman pull into the parking lot, headed to the pharmacy. He said he stopped her -- and told her what he had seen.