New details released on Brigham and Women’s incident, officer-involved shooting in Brookline

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey determined that police were justified in fatally shooting the suspect, Juston Root.

The scene following the shooting at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Jonathan Wiggs / The Boston Globe

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The Feb. 7 incident involving a man pointing what appeared to be a gun at police outside Brigham and Women’s Hospital and then leading them on a pursuit into Brookline all began when a hospital security guard asked the suspect, Juston Root, to move his vehicle, which was in the middle of Fenwood Road, and he responded by showing him the apparent firearm, according to a newly released report from the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Root was eventually fatally shot by authorities in Brookline. His weapon was later found to be a BB gun.

In the report, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey concludes that the use of force by Boston police, as well as that of a state trooper who responded to help, was justified.


Morrissey’s report examines the use of force in Brookline. Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a press conference back on Feb. 25 that her office would determine if the use of force was appropriate in Boston; that determination hasn’t been released yet. It was revealed at that time that the hospital valet shot during the incident was accidentally injured by a shot fired by Boston police, though Morrisey’s report indicates that as the incident was unfolding, it was thought by authorities that Root had shot him. The valet has since been released from the hospital and is recovering.

As officers responded to the scene outside the hospital that morning, Root was reportedly shouting, “I’m law enforcement,” repeatedly. He then pulled out the replica firearm on an officer who responded on foot, according to the report. The officer pulled out his service weapon and ordered Root to drop his, before firing at Root and falling backward. Root then began struggling with the officer on the ground, the report says, and at one point stood over the officer and pointed what was thought to be a working weapon at the officer. The officer involved in the struggle fired at Root, and another responding officer did, too. Fifteen shell casings were found at the scene, and Root was injured by one of the shots, according to the report.


Root then took off in his vehicle and headed toward Brookline. The report indicates that a Boston police officer struck Root’s vehicle with a cruiser with the goal of stopping him, but it didn’t work.

“The speed at which Root’s vehicle was traveling accelerated considerably from Boston to Brookline, traveling at speeds estimated in excess of 70 and 80 miles per hour,” Morrissey wrote.

Root’s vehicle, a silver Chevy Volt, then struck multiple vehicles near the Route 9/Hammond Street intersection, the report says. Three seconds prior to the crash, authorities were able to determine, after examining the car’s black box, that the car hit 90 mph.

What officers found when they reached the scene was “multiple heavily damaged vehicles and pieces of vehicles strewn about the roadway,” Morrissey wrote.

Root then got out of the vehicle, and police caught up with him. The report notes that a woman saw Root and attempted to help him, but police told her to move away from him. Police repeatedly ordered Root to show his hands and get on the ground, but he didn’t, according to the report.

“As officers continued to shout commands for Root to show his hands and get on the ground, Root instead moved his hands inside his jacket, consistent with reaching for a handgun with the type of shoulder holster he was wearing,” the report says. “Multiple officers observed the handgun. More than one officer yelled ‘gun.’ Simultaneously, six officers opened fire to stop the threat.”


Morrissey’s report says that Root’s body had 26 entry wounds from the shots; investigators found 31 shell casings from the six officers who had fired.

When they were able to investigate Root’s weapon, authorities found it was a “black Crosman C11, 4.5mm, CO2-powered semi-automatic BB pistol,” Morrissey wrote.

When examining Root’s vehicle, officials found “two identical paint ball type handguns, one of which had been damaged,” the report says.


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