CT attorney told man to ‘back off’ before fatal shooting outside Litchfield law firm

LITCHFIELD — A lawyer charged with manslaughter in connection with a deadly shooting outside his law firm on the Litchfield green last year was defending himself from “an unprovoked attack,” his attorney said Thursday.

However, witnesses refuted the man’s self-defense claims, according to a warrant for his arrest released Thursday.

Robert Fisher, 75, of Goshen, turned himself in Wednesday on a first-degree manslaughter charge in connection with the June 2021 shooting death of Matthew Bromley, 39.

“It was an unprovoked attack on Mr. Fisher, and he acted appropriately,” attorney William Conti said Thursday in a brief phone interview with Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

Fisher turned himself in Wednesday at the Troop L barracks and was released on $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear May 23 in state Superior Court in Torrington.

The deadly shooting happened around 4:40 p.m. June 7, 2021 outside Cramer & Associates on the historic Litchfield green. Troopers responded to a report of gunfire and found Bromley lying in the parking lot. He later was pronounced dead.

In an arrest warrant affidavit, Fisher told investigators Bromley followed him through a part of Litchfield and pulled into the law firm’s parking lot behind him. Fisher said Bromley’s vehicle never tried to pass him, the horn was never honked and neither vehicle ever made contact with each other, the warrant stated.

Once in the parking lot, Fisher said Bromley approached his car, the warrant stated. Fisher said he was still inside his car when Bromley began punching him, hitting him on the left side of the head, the warrant stated. Witnesses confirmed Bromley was the aggressor, the warrant stated.

Fisher told investigators he managed to get out of the car after kicking and pushing Bromley back, the warrant stated. Once outside the car, Fisher said he was facing Bromley with no means of escape as the younger man yelled and cursed at him, the warrant read.

Fisher said he took out his gun and told Bromley to “back off,” but the man charged him and grabbed his forearm that was holding the gun, according to the warrant.

“After a brief struggle with the gun, I shot him,” Fisher told investigators, according to the warrant.

However, interviews with witnesses appear to have refuted Fisher’s account of the incident, specifically the struggle with the firearm, according to the warrant.

One witness told investigators it appeared Bromley froze when he saw the gun, the warrant stated.

“The only time the older male moved was when he was backing the younger male up. The younger male did not have anything in his hands and they were at his side the entire time. The older male stepped forward towards the younger male about two more feet before I heard the ‘pop’ sound and the gun rise up,” the witness told investigators, according to the warrant.

The same witness said the men were about 5 to 6 feet apart when Fisher first lifted the gun and pointed it at Bromley’s neck, the warrant said.

“I’d like to add that I don’t believe that this is self-defense because the younger male did not have a weapon. I think the older male could’ve punched the other guy and settled it that way rather than shooting him,” the witness told investigators, according to the warrant. “It just didn’t seem like it was that violent of an attack.”

In the warrant, investigators wrote “there were no witness accounts that support Matthew Bromley reaching for and grabbing Robert Fisher’s forearm or that there was a struggle over the gun, as claimed by Robert Fisher.”

Following the shooting, an autopsy revealed Bromley had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent at the time of his death.

Conti said the two men were not in an attorney-client relationship and didn’t know each other well, but “they may have had some verbal contact” at some point before the shooting.

A co-worker of Fisher’s told investigators she saw Bromley’s name appear on the office caller ID the month before the shooting, the affidavit stated. It appeared Bromley was trying to buy his mother’s home, which was in foreclosure, according to the warrant.

The co-worker said she remembered Fisher “elevating his voice and further explaining that he does not do foreclosures,” the affidavit stated. After they hung up, Fisher said something along the lines of “that guy was crazy,” according to the warrant.

A Vietnam veteran, licensed gun owner and certified pistol instructor, Fisher is a partner in Cramer & Anderson’s Washington Depot office, according to the practice’s website. He focuses mostly on residential and commercial real estate law along with land use law and environmental matters. He also does estate planning.