Protests erupt after police shoot woman near Yale University

"I am so deeply sorry to the individuals who were involved that this ever occurred," said the mayor of Hamden, Connecticut.

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By Dennis Romero

Protests erupted for the fourth straight night Friday in New Haven, Connecticut, after police opened fire on a car near the Yale University campus, shooting and wounding a woman inside.

Stephanie Washington, 22, was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries following the shooting by an officer from Yale and another from the adjacent town of Hamden, university officials said in a statement.

"No weapons were observed at the scene," Connecticut State Police Sgt. Dwight Washington said in a statement.

"This is not just a Hamden situation or a New Haven situation," demonstrator Remidy Shareef of Hamden told NBC Connecticut Friday night. "This situation is the culture of policing throughout America."

Black Lives Matter of New Haven planned another demonstration Sunday afternoon. On its Facebook page, the group call New Haven, Hamden and Yale police a "triple occupation" of the community.

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The shooting occurred after 4:15 a.m. Tuesday when Hamden police Officer Devin Eaton and Yale police Officer Terrance Pollack, responding to a report of an attempted robbery at a gas station, stopped a red car near campus fitting the description of the suspect's vehicle, Yale officials said.

Both officers opened fire on the car, the university said. Police have not said why the officers deployed their guns. The officers, Stephanie Washington and the driver, identified by NBC Connecticut as Paul Witherspoon, 21, are black.

Hamden Mayor Curt Leng called the shooting "shocking, haunting."

"I am so deeply sorry to the individuals who were involved that this ever occurred, and also very thankful that the healing has begun," he said Saturday in a statement. "We will do better. We must do better."

More details about the shooting, including body-camera footage from the Hamden officer, could be released as soon as Monday, police sergeant Washington said.

"As the primary investigation proceeds, we will share whatever information we can as quickly as we can about the circumstances of the shooting," Yale officials said Wednesday in a letter to the community.

"The university has been very open to having a transparent process, but I think they continue to frame this as an unfortunate tragedy when in reality it was preventable," Yale Divinity School first-year student Joshua Cayetano told NBC News on Saturday.

Security video of the shooting shows at least one officer discharging several rounds through the passenger side window of the car. Witherspoon is the suspect in the early morning robbery, said Washington, the police sergeant.

Witherspoon was detained and released after the shooting, the Hartford Courant reported, adding that his uncle, Rodney Williams, said the robbery report was an exaggerated claim based on heated words Witherspoon had with a newspaper delivery worker at the gas station.

The Connecticut State’s Attorney’s Office, assisted by the state police, is investigating the shooting.

Kathy Park contributed.