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Man, 23, shot by Wakefield police after he allegedly rushed at officers with knife; mom found slain in home

The scene of an apparent homicide on Otis Street in Wakefield on Tuesday.
The scene of an apparent homicide on Otis Street in Wakefield on Tuesday.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Wakefield police on Tuesday shot a 23-year-old man who allegedly rushed at officers with a knife inside the home of his slain mother, an elementary school speech therapist who was found dead inside the residence when law enforcement arrived, authorities said.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan, during an afternoon briefing, identified the deceased woman as 61-year-old Pamela Wood, who worked in the Wakefield Public Schools. Ryan identified Wood’s son as 23-year-old Timothy Martin of Manchester, N.H.

Martin, Ryan said, was shot by police when he allegedly rushed officers in the basement of his mother’s home with a knife he held above his head.

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She said Martin was being treated later Tuesday in intensive care at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, and officials expect to file “various charges” against him later in the day. She didn’t specify the charges. An arraignment will be scheduled at a later date.

According to Ryan, Wood’s family went to her residence at 11 Otis St. in Wakefield on Tuesday morning after she failed to show up for an 8:30 a.m. appointment with a student at Greenwood Elementary School.

Wood’s relatives, Ryan said, didn’t have a key and couldn’t enter the home, so they alerted police.

Police and firefighters responded, Ryan said, and the back door was pried open before authorities proceeded to the basement, where Wood was discovered “obviously deceased.” She had suffered “multiple traumatic injuries,” Ryan told reporters.

“As they were calling for backup, officers proceeded down into the basement, announcing their presence,” Ryan said, adding that Martin allegedly “emerged from a corner of the basement, running from the officers in possession of a knife that he was holding above his head.”

Ryan said Wood had “some wounds that seemed consistent with the knife,” and that investigators are waiting on more information from the medical examiner.

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Constrained by the tight basement quarters, Ryan said, as well as “the suspect refusing to put down the knife” when commanded to drop it, “Wakefield officers discharged their weapons, striking Mr. Martin.”

In a follow-up statement, Ryan’s office said officers “performed life-saving efforts on scene” before Martin was taken to the hospital. Martin, the statement said, “was not expected to be there” when first responders initially arrived at Wood’s address.

Wakefield Police Chief Steven A. Skory also addressed reporters and said “this is an isolated incident, and . . . there is no threat to the community.”

Skory said there’s no prior history of domestic violence at Wood’s home, nor any prior restraining order history. Martin does not reside at Wood’s house, and he also has no prior criminal record, officials said.

Five officers received treatment at area hospitals but did not sustain serious injuries, according to Ryan’s office.

Authorities didn’t name the officers who shot Martin. They have been placed on administrative leave, per department policy.

Those officers, Skory said, are “obviously upset. They were sent to the hospital to be evaluated for stress. We have them sitting with a stress management team right now to sit down and defuse from the situation.”

The chief said the officers who opened fire will be on leave pending the outcome of an investigation into their use of force, according to standard protocol.

The Wakefield incident is the fourth police-involved shooting now under investigation by Ryan’s office since last November. The cases include a fatal shooting in Newton on Jan. 5, a fatal shooting in Winchester last November, and a nonfatal shooting in Everett, also in November.

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Wakefield Public Schools Superintendent Douglas Lyons said in a statement that the school district was “devastated” to learn of Wood’s death.

“Pam was a beloved staff member at the Greenwood School and Doyle Early Childhood Center and a vibrant and integral part of the Wakefield Public Schools Community,” Lyons said. “Pam worked with many students and families over the years in her role as a speech and language pathologist. She will be missed by students, families, and staff alike. Our hearts go out to her family during this tremendously difficult time.”

Lyons said administrators are coordinating counseling and resources for students and staff, and there will be counselors at the Greenwood School from Wednesday through Friday.

Globe correspondent Jeremy C. Fox contributed to this report.



John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.