Sean Nolte Jr., a sailor enlisted at the Naval Submarine School in Groton, was at Central Pizza at 96 Mill St. about 9:45 p.m. Saturday when a woman told him he “disgraces the U.S.” and hit him.
The Berlin Police Department is looking to identify the woman who attacked the sailor and released photos of her in a news release.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, police said they received several tips that led officers to a probable identification of the woman.
They will pursue a warrant for her arrest when they have enough information, according to a statement by acting police Chief Chris Ciuci.
Doug Capazzi, who served as a medical unit mechanic and combat lifesaver in the U.S. Army from 1998 to 2007, said the woman’s behavior toward the sailor was disrespectful.
“No matter what the situation, whether it’s a service member or not, if you lay your hands on someone, it’s a level of disrespect that’s unacceptable,” said Capazzi, who lives in Waterford and works with veterans through the organization including the Guardians of the Purple Heart, Veterans Equine Therapeutic Services and Irreverent Warriors.
Capazzi said he was glad to hear that police were seeking the suspect in the assault. He said he would have called the police if he were the victim in such an attack “because that kind of behavior is not OK. You can’t be going around smacking people in uniform.”
Capazzi, who helps promote mental health for military veterans, said he hopes the sailor turns to his command and comrades for help processing the incident.
“Anyone who experiences something like this, you definitely have to talk to somebody,” he said.
“The biggest advice we always give is to talk to your buddy, talk to the person standing next to you in formation, they might be the voice of reason and be able to offer some advice and give you direction for if it happens again.”
Harry Hansen, department adjutant for the American Legion Department of Connecticut and a veteran of the United States Air Force, said that such an attack on a service member was “rare and shocking.”
“It’s highly unusual incident, normally service members are welcomed all over the place,” Hansen said.
“I find it highly shocking that somebody would lash out at somebody in uniform.” A spokesperson for the submarine school declined to provide any further comment since the investigation was still ongoing.—Agencies