For the second time in as many days, Massachusetts law enforcement officers shot and killed a person during a confrontation, as state troopers fired on a 23-year-old man in Orange on Wednesday when he refused to put down an assault rifle, officials said.
Members of the State Police STOP team fatally shot the man around 5 a.m. as troopers tried to search his apartment on Mechanic Street in the Central Massachusetts town, State Police said. Authorities did not name the victim on Wednesday.
Soon after troopers entered the second-floor apartment, the man “pointed an assault rifle at them and refused commands to submit,” said State Police spokesman David Procopio. “A trooper or troopers discharged service weapons in response and struck the suspect.”
The man was given first aid at the scene, but was later pronounced dead at an area hospital. The suspect was under investigation for allegedly selling oxycodone and Percocet, State Police said.
STOP, or the Special Tactical Operations Team, was used for Wednesday’s early morning search because detectives had “direct and credible intelligence that the suspect had indicated that he had firearms and would use them,” Procopio said.
Initiating the STOP team is “pretty standard in situations where we anticipate firearms being present or suspects having a propensity for violence,” State Police Colonel Timothy P. Alben said. “In this case, those criteria were met.”
Troopers found a second firearm — a handgun — in the man’s bed, Procopio said.
During the incident inside 18 Mechanic St., a 25-year-old woman who lives in the unit, suffered an eye injury. She was taken for medical treatment and released, State Police said.
The use of deadly force by state troopers is under investigation by Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan.
The incident was the second time in two days that law enforcement used deadly force against a suspect.
On Tuesday, Ashland police fatally shot Andrew Stigliano, 27, after he allegedly confronted them with a shotgun when officers tried to arrest him. Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office is investigating.
In additional shootings by State Police, troopers and Boston police shot a 53-year-old man allegedly wielding a pellet gun during a confrontation June 12 near East Eighth and Old Harbor streets in South Boston, police said. The man was treated for injuries that were not life-threatening.
Two days later, on June 14, a 25-year veteran of the State Police shot and killed a 41-year-old man on Route 28 in Quincy after a violent struggle, according to the Norfolk district attorney’s office.
The three incidents — in Orange, South Boston, and Quincy — are the only shootings involving State Police this year, according to Procopio.
Gary Campbell, who owns the two-unit building at 18 Mechanic St. in Orange, said a young couple were living in the second-floor apartment. Campbell said he did not know the man very well.
Campbell said there had been problems with the property recently, including a May drug raid in which Kenneth Dennis, who managed the property for Campbell, was arrested.
A search warrant executed at 18 Mechanic St. on May 3 yielded heroin, a scale, packaging materials used in drug distribution, and five shotguns, according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office.
In November 2011, a man was shot at the address with a .22 caliber handgun that a resident had hidden in the apartment, according to the district attorney’s office. The resident, Robert Donovan, pleaded guilty in June 2012 to aggravated assault and battery by means of dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury.
Some neighbors said the building at 18 Mechanic St. has been the focus of police attention for years.
“It’s horrible to live on the same street as that house,” said a lifelong Mechanic Street resident, who requested anonymity. “It isn’t comfortable to walk by there on your way home from work at night.”