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‘We deserve to know the truth’: Family of man fatally shot by police in 2020 continues to seek independent investigation

Juston Root, 41, was shot 26 times by police in Chestnut Hill following a car chase that began near Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Jennifer Root Bannon, clears away some light snow at a memorial for her brother Justin Root where he died. David L Ryan/Globe Staff
Juston Root:

In the two years since Juston Root was shot to death by police, his family has repeatedly called for an independent investigation into his death.

On Monday, they came together where he died in Chestnut Hill to call for one again.

“The way he died will not go unanswered, and I will never give up,” Root’s sister, Jennifer Root Bannon, told the group that gathered in the Star Market parking lot in Chestnut Hill where Root died, according to WBZ.

Root, 41, was shot outside of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, near the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, where he was headed when he was first confronted by police. Root was seen carrying what appeared to be a firearm, later discovered to be fake.

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Police opened fire and Root was shot and injured. A car pursuit led to the Star Market lot where Root was shot 26 times; police unloaded over 30 shots.

Root was headed to the mental health center for treatment. He’d suffered from mental illness most of his adult life, his family said. He was on the verge of a crisis the day he died, and desperately needed to see his therapist, they said.

In a statement to WBZ, the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office said it has “no opposition to any outside review of the Root investigation.”

The office had found that the use of force was justified.

Activists, including Root’s family, advocating for a new investigation last year called for Gov. Charlie Baker and state Attorney General Maura Healey to reopen the case. Healey’s office was not immediately available for comment on that possibility on Tuesday.

“We deserve to know the truth,” Root Bannon said on the day of the anniversary, according to WBZ. “My family deserves to know the truth. The public deserves to know the truth. And let me be clear, the truth of what happened here has not been told.” 

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