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DA identifies man fatally shot by Leicester police after he allegedly rammed station, aimed rifle

Worcester district attorney Joseph Early Jr. addressed the media in a press conference Sunday afternoon that was livestreamed online.
Worcester district attorney Joseph Early Jr. addressed the media in a press conference Sunday afternoon that was livestreamed online.

Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.’s office on Monday identified the 24-year-old man who was fatally shot by police after he allegedly rammed the doors of the Leicester Police Department in an SUV on Sunday morning and shouldered what officers said appeared to be a rifle.

A spokeswoman for Early identified the deceased as Zachary Richardson, of Leicester.

Richardson, Early told reporters during a Sunday briefing without naming him, drove up a handicapped ramp into the front doors of the station at 6:13 a.m., repeatedly bashing the doors.

When officers arrived at the scene after being alerted by a Worcester Emergency Communications Center dispatcher who saw the incident on security camera, the suspect allegedly got out of the vehicle and “immediately shouldered what appeared to be a rifle and aimed it at the police officers,” Early said Sunday.

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Richardson was shot by officers and taken to Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, where he was declared dead, Early said. An ambulance arrived at the scene at “almost the same time” as the officers, according to Early.

“As the gun was pointed at the officers, as the officers fired at the man, they got down, immediately put him on his side [and] rendered aid,” before EMTs took over, Early told reporters Sunday.

No one else was injured, and it was not immediately known if anyone was inside the building at the time, Early said. Two officers were placed on administrative leave according to standard protocol, Leicester Police Chief Kenneth Antanavica said at the press conference.

Early told reporters Richardson “was known to [police] a little bit” and said the man had a June 1 court date for a traffic violation, although he did not say if that is believed to be related.

Court records show Richardson was arraigned Feb. 18 in East Brookfield District Court on charges of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of property damage, and a marked lanes violation. He pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance, legal filings show.

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The traffic incident in question had occurred Oct. 24 shortly after 1:30 a.m. in the area of Church Street in Leicester, according to court records. Further information about the alleged traffic violation wasn’t immediately available.

Early said the entire ramming episode Sunday was caught on surveillance video. “You can see the officers acting at the time. You can see them doing a lot of the things that they’ve been trained to do. We’ve just got to slow down and let the experts take a look at that.”

“Everything will be thoroughly reviewed,” Early said.

The town administrator, David A. Genereux, said in an e-mail Sunday that he was not able to provide further information. “But it is always a tragedy when a life is lost, particularly at a young age,” he said, referencing the suspect. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the driver’s family.”

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Lucas Phillips can be reached at lucas.phillips@globe.com.