Reading officer manslaughter trial: Victim said ‘Shoot me!’, so he did, ADA says

Reading police Officer Erik Drauschke is on trial for manslaughter in the death of Alan Greenough.

Erik Drauschke, a Reading police officer (R) charged with manslaughter sits beside his attorney Peter Pasciucco during the first day of his trial. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

Reading police Officer Erik Drauschke is on trial for manslaughter for shooting and killing 43-year-old Alan Greenough in 2018.

On Monday, lawyers began their opening arguments in Middlesex Superior Court, The Boston Globe reported. Each painted a scene of what happened on Feb. 3, 2018 when Drauschke shot Greenough, who was unarmed at the time, twice in the chest.

“He was going to be the cowboy,” Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Thomas Brant told jurors, according to the Globe. “He was going to be the hero. He was going to apprehend this man.”

Drauschke, who had been on the force for 11 years when he killed Greenough, is the first police officer to face criminal charges for an on-duty killing in Massachusetts in nearly 30 years.


Drauschke was indicted in 2020 after Middlesex County prosecutors asked for an independent review of the incident by a judge, considered an unusual move in Massachusetts. He pleaded not guilty to the crime, but was placed on paid leave.

Brant told jurors that on the day of the shooting, up to eight officers were with Drauschke at an apartment attached to East Coast Gas and Auto Repair, the Globe reported. They were there to arrest Greenough for alleged domestic battery and assault of his roommates.

According to Brant, Drauschke didn’t wait for backup when he saw Greenough in a red Hummer in the tightly packed junkyard behind the gas station, the Globe reported.

Brant told jurors that Drauschke opened the door of the vehicle, and when Greenough got out, he kept his hands in his sweatshirt pockets and refused to take them out, the Globe reported.

Greenough cursed at Drauschke and said “Shoot me!” multiple times, Brant told jurors. Drauschke then fired twice at close range, the Globe reported.

There was no gun, no weapon, no threat,” Brant said, according to the Globe. “Is that what a police officer does?” he asked.

Drauschke’s defense lawyers said he “did what any reasonable officer would do” when faced with an uncooperative suspect who would not show their hands, according to the Globe.


Lawyer Kenneth Anderson went as far as to say Drauschke’s actions were consistent with his training, the Globe reported.

“You have to put yourself in the place of a police officer in a rapidly changing, intense, dangerous situation,” he said.

By the time police arrived at the scene, Anderson told jurors, Greenough had smashed furniture in the apartment and thrown a table leg through a window, the Globe reported. He then escaped through a back window.

When Drauschke saw Greenough in the Hummer, Anderson told jurors, Drauschke could not tell how much of a threat he was, but he knew he was not complying with orders, the Globe reported. Once Greenough was out of the vehicle, he was close enough to lunge at Drauschke, Anderson said.

“This was a quick decision that he had to make, and he made the right decision,” Anderson said.

The defense team also said Greenough was “down on his luck,” and was dealing with alcohol issues. He had had a recent stint in rehab for heroin use, died with fentanyl in his system, and had a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit for a driver, they said.

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Greenough’s mother, Catherine Rawson, was in attendance Monday, according to the Globe.


“The family is, and was, devastated by the shooting and the tragic and unnecessary loss of Alan, and are now hoping and believing that this criminal trial will bring them some relief, somehow,” the family’s lawyer told the newspaper.

Greenough’s family has pressured the DA’s Office to look further into the shooting for years, which ultimately led to the judicial inquest, the Globe reported.

The judge who did the inquest disagreed with Drauschke’s claim that he “was facing a deadly threat” and was forced to shoot Greenough, according to the Globe.

If convicted of manslaughter, Drauschke could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.


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