Police officers were in legitimate fear for their lives when they fired at a man reaching for a gun in Mattapan on June 2 of last year, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said today.
In a letter to Police Commissioner William Evans, Conley said he will not be bringing any charges against officers involved in the shooting death of Ross Batista in a car on Wildwood Street early that morning:
Our thorough review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mr. Batista determined that [the officers involved] fired in self-defense and defense of each other and [a third officer] after Mr. Batista ignored verbal commands to stop reaching for a gun and then drew it in a manner that represented a lethal threat to the officers. In the course of that encounter, after firing at a civilian, Mr. Batista pointed one firearm, had easy access to another, and fired multiple rounds at the officers, in total disregard for the safety of dozens of other citizens in the area. I have thus concluded that the officers involved acted reasonably and lawfully and that, therefore, no criminal charges are warranted.
The DA's office provided this account of Batista's death:
The investigation revealed that Batista was with a relative inside a car on Willowwood Street at about 1:00 in the morning on June 2, 2013, when he became engaged in an intense argument with a pedestrian. He drew a pistol and exchanged gunfire with that person. At that moment, Boston Police were in the area for another call - a fight that was soon upgraded to shots fired.
When these officers heard the gunfire, they ran toward it and came upon Batista and his relative inside their vehicle. As they approached, another man ran up and indicated that one of the occupants of the car had shot at him. The officers ordered Batista to show his hands and get out of the car. Batista - who was wearing latex gloves and seated in the front passengerâ€™s seat - ignored those orders.
Batista jumped into the back seat of the car and made statements indicating that the officers would "have to shoot me." He then said, "Fuck it, Iâ€™m coming out."
The investigation showed that Batista retrieved a .38 caliber revolver from the front seat. Officers around the car shouted that he had a gun. One officer fired through the windshield at him, hitting Batista in the torso. Batista nonetheless was able to exit the car and fire on the officers, who were now retreating. He fired at least two rounds in the direction of two officers. A third officer fired on Batista, hitting him again in the front torso and left arm. In addition to the .38 that Batista fired, investigators recovered a second loaded handgun from the front passengerâ€™s side area of the vehicle.