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Police say man in face-off had pellet gun

A man shot and wounded by police during a confrontation with law enforcement officers in South Boston Wednesday night was armed with a pellet gun and was shot after he appeared to fire on police, authorities said Thursday.

Kenneth Connelly, 53, of South Boston was in critical condition Thursday at Boston Medical Center after being shot in the confrontation that involved state troopers and Boston police, State Police spokesman David Procopio said in a statement.

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Also injured in the confrontation was a police officer who was struck by at least one pellet fired by Connelly, police said.

Cheryl Fiandaca, a Boston police spokeswoman, was not able to provide an update on the officer’s condition Thursday, but his injury was not considered life-threatening, she said.

Connelly was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and other charges could be pending, Fiandaca said.

Authorities would not say how many shots were fired and who among responding police and troopers fired weapons.

Boston police said that both State and Boston police opened fire on Connelly during the confrontation near the intersection of East Eighth and Old Harbor streets.

In the statement, Procopio said troopers and police responded to Gates Street about 9 p.m. to investigate reports of a man with a gun. Police told Connelly to show his hands because it was clear he was holding an object of some kind, Procopio said. But Connelly refused, Procopio said.

“Connelly did not comply with police commands and instead raised the weapon and fired a projectile toward the police officers,’’ Procopio said. One officer was struck.

“At least one of the police personnel then discharged his department firearm,” Procopio said. “Connelly was struck. Police then called for [Emergency Medical Services] and rendered medical aid until an ambulance arrived.’’

Procopio said police later determined that Connelly was wielding a pellet gun.

Two pellet guns were recovered near where the suspect fell, he said.

“The investigation into how many police officers discharged weapons, how many shots were fired, and how many times the victim was struck is ongoing,” Procopio said. “Also under investigation is why Connelly was walking in the street with the weapons.”

Authorities said the use of deadly force against Connelly is being investigated by Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

Brian Ballou of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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