BRIDGEPORT — Police Lt. Brian Fitzgerald testified Thursday that his fatal shooting of Frederick McAllister will live with him for the rest of his life.

“Although you train for it, you don’t expect you are going to be in this situation,” he told a Superior Court jury.

Fitzgerald, who shot the unarmed McAllister in the back in 2008, took the stand as the defense opened its case in the civil trial against the city before Judge Dale Radcliffe.

The lawsuit, filed by McAllister’s family, contends Fitzgerald was not in danger and violated Police Department procedures when he shot the 33-year-old McAllister at the Success Village housing complex on Jan. 31, 2008. The city and Police Department are at fault for McAllister’s death for failing to properly train Fitzgerald, according to the suit.

Fitzgerald fatally shot the unarmed McAllister following a chase in which police mistook McAllister for his cousin, Justin Dewitt Ellerbe, who was wanted by South Carolina police on outstanding felony charges.

Under questioning by Associate City Attorney Betsy Edwards, Fitzgerald, then a sergeant in the Police Department, related that the day before the shooting he had alerted other officers at roll call that Ellerbe was believed to be in the city and armed with a 50-caliber handgun. That night Fitzgerald said he was dispatched to Hewitt Street after a 911 caller reported seeing Ellerbe there with a gun. But despite a search he wasn’t found there.

The following evening Fitzgerald said he was working an overtime assignment at a construction site on Barnum Avenue when he heard on his radio that Ellerbe was seen leaving Hewett Street in a red sports utility vehicle. And the SUV was heading in Fitzgerald’s direction. Fitzgerald said he drove his patrol car to intercept the SUV and spotted it at the intersection of Barnum Avenue and Willow Street. But instead of pulling over, he said the SUV swerved right at his police car.

The SUV sped through intersections without stopping and Fitzgerald said he pursued it to Success Village where it crashed through a fence, drove across a field and finally crashed into a tree.

Fitzgerald said he got out of his patrol car and then “A lot of things happened at the same time.”

The driver of the SUV began to come toward him. “He advanced toward me, drawing a black gun from his waistband and yelling, “Get away from me,” Fitzgerald testified. “I yelled at him to drop the gun, he ignored me and I fired three rounds. He moved over and I heard gunshots and then I fired three more rounds.”

He said the man fell to the ground, then got back up, placed what Fitzgerald thought was a gun on the ground and hobbled away. Fitzgerald followed the man as he fled down an alley.

“He started running and I could see him reaching for his waistband again. He looked back at me and then stopped and turned and reached for his waistband and I thought he was going for another gun.” Fitzgerald said he then fired his seventh shot. “He then put his hands up and turned around and I saw that his white T-shirt was covered in blood.”

Fitzgerald said there were no other officers around when he chased McAllister into Success Village and he then noticed that his portable radio was off. Within seconds of calling in he said other officers arrived on the scene.

Fitzgerald said he didn’t learn until the next day that he had shot McAllister in the back and the object he believed was a gun turned out to be a cell phone.; 203-330-6308; http://