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Man shot by police after woman is killed in Middleborough

MIDDLEBOROUGH — Police responding to the fatal shooting of a woman early Friday shot a man who had been living in her home after he allegedly pointed a rifle at the officers, authorities said.

Paramedics and police arrived at 174 Highland Street at 12:03 a.m., and found Norma DesRoche, 65, lying in the driveway and suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest, with her husband and an unidentified person huddled over her giving her CPR.

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Moments later, witnesses told police another man was in the driveway holding a firearm.

The man — later identifed as Thomas Buttimer, 52 — allegedly approached the officers, carrying a rifle.

Police told Buttimer several times to drop the rifle, but he pointed it at them, an action that drew fire from the officers, authorities said.

“Police told the individual several times to drop the weapon,” said a statement released Friday by Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz’s office. “He did not comply and was pointing the weapon at police. He was then shot by police.’’

GEORGE RIZER FOR THE GLOBE

Investigators remained at the home in Middleborough where police shot one man after a woman was shot dead.

Buttimer, wounded, was taken to a local hospital, where he remained in stable condition Friday.

He was charged with armed assault with attempt to murder a police officer and possession of a firearm.

He was not charged with killing DesRoche. He was not arraigned Friday, given his medical condition, but may face arraignment early next week.

A motive for the violence was not disclosed. Cruz’s office, along with State Police and Middleborough police, continue to investigate.

Nick Ieronimo, who lives in the neighborhood and has done landscaping jobs at the residence, stopped by the scene briefly Friday morning to find out what happened.

“I’ve known John for 20 years, a very nice man, hard working,” he said of the husband, whom he identified as John DesRoche.

“There didn’t seem to be any major problems there,” he said.

A man whose property abuts 176 Highland Street said he has contacted police several times recently to complain about someone shooting rifles in the thickly-wooded expanse directly behind his house and 176 Highland Street. The man declined to give his name.

“I didn’t hear any shots last night,” he said, sitting in his truck, which he stopped briefly in front of the Highland Street house. “But there has been gunfire back there in the last two weeks.”

The neighbor said he asked Middleborough police to check on the source of the gunfire.

“They basically told me that whoever was shooting had a right to do so. I told them I have children, horses, goats on my property. I can’t even let my kids come out because I’m afraid they may get shot.”

Brian Ballou can be reached
at bballou@globe.com.
Follow him on Twitter at @globeballou. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@
globe.com
. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.

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