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Standoff with police ends in Brockton; two dead, Brockton officer wounded

Police gathered at the Boston Medical Center emergency entrance where a Brewster ambulance brought in the Brockton police officer who was injured in a shooting.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

BROCKTON — A police officer was shot four times by an armed suspect who apparently killed himself following an hours-long standoff Thursday night that drew officers dressed in tactical gear and carrying rifles into a dense residential neighborhood.

The officer was shot after police responded to several 911 calls reporting a man with a gun near 62 Taber Ave. A man was found dead in a silver SUV parked outside the home, where the suspect barricaded himself for more than four hours, law enforcement officials said.

The officer, a man believed to be in his 30s, was taken by ambulance to Boston Medical Center escorted by local and State Police through heavy rush-hour traffic on Interstate 93. The officer, who suffered grazing wounds to his hand and leg, is expected to survive, a law enforcement source briefed on the case said.

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At a news conference at the scene late Thursday night, Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz said investigators believe the shootings were “not a random act of violence.”

The officer was struck after Brockton police first responded to the site around 5:45 p.m., the DA said.

Police sought assistance from State Police, including the Special Tactical Operations Team, and together they established a perimeter around the home and negotiated with the gunman throughout the night, according to Cruz. Federal authorities also participated in the standoff.

Around 9 p.m., police asked bystanders to move down Taber Avenue, farther from the home where the suspect was barricaded. They asked that the public stay out of the streets for their own safety, as more officers arrived at the scene.

A negotiator could be heard telling the gunman, “You’ll feel a lot better if you go to the hospital.”

By about 9:15 p.m., the man could be seen on the porch of the home. According to Cruz, he appeared to have shot himself around 9:30 p.m. outside the home. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was believed to have died, Cruz said.

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Police robots were sent inside the home to ensure that there were no explosives, Cruz said.

He thanked police for their swift and professional response to the scene.

“Watching this go down tonight, I think there were some great jobs by police officers trying to do the best they could in an incredibly difficult situation,” the DA said.

Cruz said he didn’t believe that anyone was shot by an officer. No information was released about the man found dead in the SUV. The investigation is ongoing, Cruz said.

Mayor Robert Sullivan also lauded the response of police and “the brave individual who took four shots tonight.”

“We’re very thankful. We hope he has a speedy recovery,” Sullivan said.

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The sound of gunfire and the intense police activity upended the residential neighborhood located a few blocks from the commuter rail station. As more law enforcement arrived, the massive police presence stretched for several blocks around Taber Avenue.

Carlin LaPlante heard about 10 shots outside her home, she said.

LaPlante was off work Thursday and was eating dinner in her pajamas when “we heard like six or seven shots, and then maybe four or five afterwards,” she said.

LaPlante said that she’s accustomed to the risks of living in Brockton. “I carry pepper spray and I have a German shepherd,” she said.

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Joanna Cruz, an East Side resident, said her cousin lives two streets away from the shooting scene, and she called to check on him after receiving an emergency alert on her cellphone. Then she came over to the scene, watching as more and more officers arrived, she said.

In addition to her cousin, “we have a friend that lives down there, so I was kind of worried, but she just texted and said she’s OK,” Cruz said. “This is getting out of hand. It’s crazy.”

Devon Mendes said he lives nearby and walked over after he noticed a commotion.

“On my way, I saw a police officer moving fast. I wasn’t sure which direction he was going,” Mendez said. “When I came over here I saw a lot of police cars and a fire truck. ... Then when I came down, the lady came up to me, told me one of the police officers was shot.”

Mendez, 21, said his reaction was, “Whoa ... what?”

He said he later observed a SWAT team “getting geared up and ready ... waiting on the proper moment to move in.”

Alma, who would not give her last name, said she lives nearby on Court Street, heard the gunshots, and came outside.

”I’ve got to commend the police, that they got here so fast,” she said, standing on Court Street. About the violence in this neighborhood, she said: “It happens. It happens. Brockton is, you know, Brockton.”

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”I have a friend who lives on this street,” Alma said. “She’s very worried. She has a special needs child that’s wheelchair-bound, so she can’t even get out of the house.”

Mike Bello of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox. Katie Redefer can be reached at katie.redefer@globe.com. Hiawatha Bray can be reached at hiawatha.bray@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeTechLab.