Bristol DA finds New Bedford police were justified in shooting teenager
Bristol District Attorney Samuel Sutter announced today that the May 17 shooting of Malcolm Gracia, 15, by New Bedford police was justified.
Officers shot Gracia after he stabbed Detective Tyson Barnes, according to an investigation by Sutter’s office.
Two other detectives used “verbal commands and a Taser” to try to get Gracia to stop after the attack on Barnes, Sutter’s office said in a report on the investigation released today.
The detectives then fired three shots at Gracia. He stumbled. The detectives ordered him to stay down, but he began to get up, continuing to wield the knife. Police then fired three more shots, the report said.
An eyewitness heard the detectives telling Gracia to “stay down, stay down,” the report said.
“According to this eyewitness, Gracia fell when he was shot and then got up on one knee with his other foot planted on the ground. According to all eyewitnesses, he was still holding his knife. That is when the second set of three shots were fired. ... Both detectives made their own independent determinations that the use of deadly force was necessary and fired [at] Gracia nearly simultaneously,” the report said.
“It is our conclusion, taking into consideration all of the aspects of this incident and mindful of how rapidly events proceeded after the stabbing of Detective Barnes, that this shooting, although tragic, was justified under the circumstances,” the report concluded.
Gracia’s father was fatally shot by Dartmouth Police in 2009. A friend told investigators that Gracia blamed police for his father’s death and “that’s why he hated them.”
The investigation also found Gracia had mental health problems and had once previously threatened to kill a police officer. He had run away from home on May 7 and had not taken his medications with him.
Barnes, the detective, survived a stab wound to his chest and abdomen “within inches of his heart” and a stab wound to his arm, the report said.Matt Woolbright can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @reportermatt