Metro

Brockton man fatally shot after allegedly pointing BB gun at police

Douglas Buckley and his wife, Barbara.
Family photo
Douglas Buckley and his wife, Barbara.

BROCKTON — Douglas Buckley had been drinking, and was threatening to burn down his home, his family told police. He was suicidal, his family said, and needed help.

Desperate, his wife went to the police station about 12:30 a.m. Thursday, hoping they could intervene and take him to the hospital. She said she told police he would probably not go quietly, but that he did not have any weapons, only some BB guns.

“I thought I was doing the right thing,” Barbara Buckley recalled Thursday from her Thayer Street home.

Advertisement

When two officers arrived on the quiet side street a short time later, they saw Buckley, 45, outside the home carrying what appeared to be a rifle while listening to the police scanner.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Buckley dropped the rifle and pulled out a handgun from his back and pointed it at the officers, who both fired, according to a statement from Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz, whose office is investigating the shooting. Buckley was shot in the right lower abdomen, and later died.

Both the rifle and the handgun that Buckley allegedly pointed at police were BB guns that “closely resemble authentic guns,” Cruz’s office said.

But Barbara Buckley said her husband posed no threat, and said police badly mishandled the situation.

“I repeatedly told them there were no weapons in the house,” she said. “The next thing I hear is ‘Drop it! Drop it!’ Then four pops. Four gunshots.”

Advertisement

Cruz’s office declined to say whether Buckley’s family had told them there were no weapons in the house, but noted that Buckley’s wife had called on her cellphone and told them he “had been drinking and made other threats” and that there were other people in the home.

Brockton police referred questions to prosecutors. The mayor’s office could not be reached for comment.

The shooting was believed to be the seventh police-involved fatal shooting this year in Massachusetts. Last month, an FBI agent and Boston police officer shot Usaamah Rahim, 26, in Roslindale after Rahim allegedly threatened the officers with a military knife. Rahim had been the target of an antiterrorism task force investigation.

On June 19, a Somerville man was shot and killed by a State Police trooper near Boston University after he allegedly refused to drop a knife and made threatening gestures, police said.

In Brockton, Barbara Buckley said she explicitly told police about the BB guns, assuring them they were broken and not loaded.

Advertisement

Buckley’s sister, Tara Fitzgerald, said police shot Buckley just moments after arriving at the house, and that he was climbing over a fence into the frontyard when they fired.

“How was he pointing a gun while climbing?” she asked. “I think they were very excessive and should be held accountable.’’

On Thursday, the fence lay in pieces on the grass, and bullet holes could be seen on the side of the house.

Fitzgerald said Buckley had personal troubles but was a good man who was deeply devoted to his wife and four children.

“He was a family man,” she said. “A good husband and father. He didn’t deserve this.”

Barbara Buckley said they had been married for 20 years. He grew up in Brockton, and worked as a sheet metal mechanic, she said.

Buckley was taken to Signature Health Care Brockton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 2 a.m., authorities said.

After the shooting, Barbara Buckley’s 22-year-old son, Jesse Fernandes, was involved in an altercation with police, and was charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

Prosecutors said he assaulted an officer when he returned home from the hospital. Family members said police punched him in the face, breaking his cheekbone and jaw.

One neighbor said Fernandes was furious about Buckley’s shooting and was hoping to find the police officer who was responsible.

He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and was released.

Kevin Brown, a neighbor, placed flowers on the Buckley’s lawn as a memorial. He didn’t know the circumstances, but thought police could have found a way to subdue him without taking his life.

“I think they should have shot him in the leg to bring him down,” he said. “It’s just a sad day.”

Catherine Cloutier of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Peter Schworm can be reached at schworm@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.