Five years after it happened, Suffolk County prosecutors Wednesday declared MBTA Transit and Chelsea police officers acted lawfully during a gunfight with a Chelsea man who was shot in the back and later died in his house, which he had set on fire.
The investigation into the May 22, 2017, incident was begun by Daniel F. Conley and continued under his successor, Rachael Rollins, who completed the inquiry. However, Rollins never released her findings before becoming US Attorney. The current prosecutor, Kevin R. Hayden, reviewed the file and agreed with Rollins that the use of deadly force was legally justified.
The incident in Chelsea began when Kelly Pastrana choked his wife in front of their 10-year-old daughter, forcing them to flee to a neighbor’s home. With both mother and daughter hiding from him, the 38-year-old Pastrana ran into his neighbor’s home and fired shots into several rooms. No one was reported struck then.
Pastrana returned to his home at 80 Warren Ave. and opened fire on arriving officers including Chelsea Police Officer Robert Hammond, who returned fire, prosecutors said. Later, Transit Police Officer James Davie, part of his department’s SWAT team, twice exchanged gunfire with Pastrana, according to findings by Suffolk prosecutors.
Pastrana set fire to his home and fired upon responding firefighters. The fire eventually consumed most of the house, and Pastrana’s body was recovered after it was extinguished. An autopsy determined he was shot once, likely a round Davie fired from his police rifle, and died from that injury along with combustion injuries from the fire, according to the report.
“The facts establish that while responding to reports that a man with a gun had physically assaulted his wife and shot at her and their ten-year-old daughter, both Officers — at different locations and at different times — were also fired upon by Mr. Pastrana,’’ the prosecutors concluded.
“Every bullet fired by Mr. Pastrana was a violent and potentially fatal act that put the lives of police officers as well as neighbors at significant risk ... Officers James Davie and Robert Hammond acted reasonably and lawfully,” Rollins wrote in a finding supported by Hayden. “I have determined that criminal charges are not warranted.”
Earlier this week, Hayden also released deadly force findings for a 2019 shooting in Roxbury and a separate incident in Revere the same year.
Prosecutors concluded Boston police were justified in using deadly force on Feb. 22, 2019, when two officers encountered 36-year-old Kasim Kahrim who opened fire on Boston police officers who found him dozing behind the driver’s wheel of a vehicle pulled over in the Mass. and Cass neighborhood of Roxbury.
Boston police Officer William Hull lawfully acted to defend himself and his partner, Officer Mark Whalen, on Feb. 22, 2019, when he shot and killed Kahrim, the DA’s office concluded. Kahrim twice fired at Whalen with a .357 caliber pistol, hitting the officer in his right hand. Hull fired 20 times in response, hitting Kahrim a total of eight times, according to Hayden’s report.
Hayden separately decided that Everett Police Officer Alex Vieira was justified in using deadly force when he fired a single shot fatally wounding Oscar Ventura-Gonzalez on Aug. 4, 2019. The shooting took place after a high-speed chase from Everett into Revere where Ventura-Gonzalez rammed police cruisers and nearly hit Vieira, Hayden concluded.
Hayden still has six deadly force case to investigate, five of which he inherited from Rollins.