Watertown, Connecticut – A UPS employee accused of fatally assaulting a co-worker he helped deliver packages to told police that he stabbed the man before fleeing into the forest, according to an arrest warrant released on Thursday. His arrest came after a 15-hour human hunt, reports CBS Hartford affiliate WFSB-TV.
When Elijah David Bertrand, 19, of Bristol, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon by state police at a gas station in Plymouth, asked the officers, “Why did you take so long to find me?” according to the warrant.
The document says Bertrand was found after using his debit card at the gas station, the WFSB said.
Bertrand was indicted on Thursday on murder charges, accused of killing UPS driver Nathan Burk, 28, of Waterbury. The arrest warrant stated that Bertrand was working as Burk’s “helper / messenger” on Tuesday, the day of the attack.
The reason remains unclear.
The title for Bertrand was kept at $ 2 million, said the WFSB.
His lawyer, Robert Pickering, asked for the bail to be reduced, arguing that Bertrand was not a risk of escape and had a strong connection to the state. Betrand is due to appear in court again on January 6.
Pickering told the Associated Press that the case is “a terrible thing for all parties involved”, especially considering that it happened just before Christmas and during the coronavirus pandemic.
“My client’s family empathy is unbelievable,” he said. “Whether my client is responsible for this or not, this young man’s death should never have happened during the holiday season.”
Bertrand and Burk were apparently in the same vehicle, state police officer Joseu Dorelus told a news conference on Wednesday. According to the arrest warrant, the two stopped at Burk’s girlfriend’s house and had dinner, staying for about an hour, before returning the UPS truck.
Burk’s girlfriend started calling her boyfriend about half an hour later, hoping he was already home because the house is close to the UPS warehouse. But the calls were not answered, the warrant said.
Police officers initially responded to a call about an accident involving a UPS truck in Watertown late on Tuesday. They found the vehicle on the northern shoulder of Route 8. Burk did not respond and fell onto the steering wheel, with what appeared to be knife wounds.
A blood-folding knife, which Bertrand’s father later confirmed belonged to his son, was found at the scene, the warrant said. Waterbury State Attorney Maureen Platt said in court that Burk was stabbed eight times.
Burk was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.
Dozens of loved ones and coworkers from Burk gathered outside Watertown’s UPS facilities on Wednesday. Many said they want answers.
“We all want to know. We all want to know why,” one told the WFSB.
“It’s heartbreaking. … He was such a good soul,” Kerry Langdeau of Waterbury told NBC Connecticut.
“I got up in the morning. I was all set to probably deliver 200 packages and go home and he will never come home,” said Sean O’Brien, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Joint Council 10, a union that represents drivers in all of New England.