Metro

Probe says police justified in shooting of suspect

Middlesex County prosecutors say police were justified in the fatal shooting of a man who had robbed a bank, carjacked vehicles in an attempt to escape, and fired at them in a wild incident in March that began in Saugus and ended in Malden.

An investigation into the March 23 shooting that killed William Ekasala found that police officers — five of whom fired at Ekasala — were in “imminent danger of being shot by Ekasala,” the office of District Attorney Gerry Leone said in a statement.

The investigation also found Ekasala, if not apprehended, “posed an imminent danger of killing or seriously injuring others,” the statement said.

Advertisement

“The suspect attempted to, and mostly succeeded in, carjacking three separate cars that contained six civilians, including an infant,” the statement said. “He discharged his firearm at officers, and while attempting to flee, continued to brandish and discharge his firearm at officers. These facts support the conclusion that the officers were justified in their use of deadly force in order to save themselves and possibly others from serious harm or even death.”

Get Metro Headlines in your inbox:
The 10 top local news stories from metro Boston and around New England delivered daily.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

According to a summary of the facts provided in the statement, Ekasala fired three times at two officers, including once while using a woman as a human shield.

Ekasala, 35, of East Boston and Michael Ginnetti, 38, of Winthrop had allegedly entered the Saugus Bank on the Fellsway in Saugus, carrying guns and wearing masks and body armor. They robbed the bank of $4,900 and got into a car driven by Gabriel Megna, 48, of East Boston. Police pursued them into Malden, where they got out of their car and unsuccessfully tried to enter a condominium building on Broadway.

Ginnetti split off from the other two and was later apprehended. Megna later also split off from Ekasala.

Attempting to escape, Ekasala ordered people out of three vehicles and was driving the third of them toward an officer when he was shot, the statement said. He suffered at least one gunshot wound to the forehead and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Advertisement

Four officers from Malden and one from Saugus fired their guns, the statement said.

Ginnetti faces charges in Essex Superior Court that include armed robbery while masked and armed assault with intent to rob. His next court date is Aug. 16. Megna faces charges in Middlesex Superior Court of armed carjacking and receiving a stolen motor vehicle. His next court date is Aug. 22. the statement said.