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Connecticut police officer killed in South Carolina trying to break up fight

Sgt. Matthew Mainieri of the South Windsor Police Department in Connecticut.

(South Windsor Police)

An off-duty Connecticut police officer died on Sunday after he was allegedly assaulted in a popular South Carolina bar.

Sgt. Matthew Mainieri, 41, a decorated 20-year member of the South Windsor Police Department, died on Sunday afternoon, after he tried to break up a fight at Uncle Tito’s in Murrells Inlet, Fox 61 Connecticut reports.

He suffered injuries to his head during the altercation and was pronounced dead Sunday afternoon, the station reported.

“It is with deep sadness that the members of the South Windsor Police mourn the death of Sergeant Matthew Mainieri,” South Windsor Deputy police chief Scott Custer said.

Kelton Jess Todd, 21, of Aynor, S. C., was charged with assaulting Mainieri by deputies with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office.

More serious charges are pending, the sheriff’s office said.

Mugshot for Kelton Jess Todd, 21, of Aynor, South Carolina.

(Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office)

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Mainieri was on holiday with friends in the time. Uncle Tito’s is near Myrtle Beach.

His police work earned Mainieri awards, including the Medal of Courage, according to Custer.

In July of 2009, Mainieri and two other South Windsor officials to receive special recognition for their response to a 13-hour hostage-taking confrontation on a house, the Hartford Courant reported.

The conflict ended with Mainieri and Sgt. Peter Alix taking suspect, Richard Shenkman, in custody, according to the paper. Shenkman had kidnapped his ex-wife in a fire in the house. He is currently serving 70 years in prison.

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