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Prosecutor’s probe clears officer involved in fatal shooting

August 5, 2022 GMT

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts police officer who shot and killed a man armed with a knife in March acted in self defense and will not face criminal charges, Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington announced Friday.

Following a presentation of the evidence collected by investigators, Harrington said her office concluded that the officer attempted to deescalate the situation before using deadly force to defend himself.

Officers urged the man to drop his weapon, employed deescalation techniques and twice used stun weapons in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the situation, Harrington said. The officer fired twice as the man quickly advanced on him from just a few feet away, she said.

An internal police report released in April concluded the officer, a nine-year veteran, followed department training and rules and was trying to protect himself, another officer and the victim’s female companion.

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Officers were responding to reports that the man was creating a disturbance and had tried to injure himself.

Before announcing her decision, Harrington spent more than an hour Friday reviewing witness testimony, video footage and forensic evidence collected at the scene.

Harrington called the man’s death “sad and tragic” and said it showed the need to improve community services for mental health.