Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey has defended the actions of a state trooper who shot and killed a man in Quincy during a confrontation in mid-June.
According to a release from the District Attorney’s office, an intensive eight-week investigation showed that the use of deadly force was justified in the confrontation with 41-year-old New Bedford resident Wilfredo Justiniano Jr.
“The investigation into the use of deadly force by law enforcement is not only an important legal matter but an important civil rights issue and issue of public concern,” Morrissey said in the release. “The eye-witness accounts of civilian, fire, and police witnesses, supported by significant physical and ballistics evidence, leave no room for doubt. The action of this Massachusetts State Police trooper was in self-defense and was justified as a matter of law.”
In the release, police said that the confrontation began when Justiniano began driving erratically and then pulled over on Rte. 128 at approximately 8 a.m. on June 14. Believing the man was having a heart attack, a woman pulled over and called 911.
A state trooper arrived shortly thereafter to see the man allegedly jumping up and down and screaming. The man allegedly told the trooper to kill him.
According to the release, the trooper attempted to calm down the man to no avail. When the man approached the trooper, the officer sprayed the man twice with pepper spray.
Police said the man continued to charge at the trooper while screaming he was going to kill him. At that time the trooper drew his gun and fired twice.
Justiniano was wounded in the wrist and the chest. Even while wounded, he continued to resist arrest, police said, and had to be sprayed with pepper spray again.
Medical personnel stabilized Justiniano. He was taken to Milton Hospital, but did not survive his injuries.
The District Attorney stated that several people, including witnesses to the event, were interviewed and confirmed the trooper’s story.
“One witness to the events stated that she felt the trooper was calm and that he demonstrated, in her words, ‘a lot of restraint’ in his attempts to de-escalate,” Morrissey said.
Archived reports obtained from the New Bedford Police Department also show that Justiniano had a condition that impacted his behavior. He had previously been in confrontations with police.
“What has emerged is a clear picture of a tragedy for all involved,” Morrissey said in the reelase. “I offer my personal condolences to the family.”