Attorney general: Justified use of force in police shooting

August 24, 2018

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire police officer who shot and wounded a man during a visit to check on his welfare was justified in the use of deadly force, the state attorney general said Friday.

Nashua police were called to a home on June 26 following the report of a suicidal person. They found Justin Contreras, 29, who had a revolver.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said Officer James Ciulla encountered Contreras inside a staircase foyer. MacDonald said the revolver wasn’t loaded, but Ciulla didn’t know that. He said Ciulla fired three shots at Contreras and that Contreras was hit twice, in the right arm and front torso. He was hospitalized and survived. No one else was hurt.

Contreras was later charged with criminal threatening. He pleaded not guilty.

MacDonald said Ciulla’s shooting constitutes the use of deadly force. MacDonald and state police investigated and concluded that Ciulla’s actions were justified.

MacDonald said because Contreras’ case is pending, his office is unable to release more information about its investigation at this time.

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