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Douglas Buckley and his wife, Barbara.
Douglas Buckley and his wife, Barbara.Family photo

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is stepping in to investigate a lethal police shooting because of close relationships between members of the Plymouth district attorney’s office and Brockton police.

Douglas Buckley had been drinking and was suicidal when he was fatally shot by Brockton police early Thursday morning, family members said. Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz asked Healey’s office to take over the investigation because Cruz and others in his office know the officers involved, according to a joint statement by the authorities.

In early statements following the shooting, Cruz’s office said Buckley, 45, was carrying what appeared to be a rifle outside his home when police officers arrived around 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

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After Buckley pulled a handgun from his back and pointed it at officers, they shot him in the abdomen. He was pronounced dead at Signature Health Care Brockton Hospital.

Police later discovered that the weapons were BB guns.

“The Attorney General’s Office will investigate these incidents involving three Brockton police officers thoroughly, independently, and transparently,” said Emalie Gainey, a spokeswoman for Healey’s office.

Barbara Buckley, the wife of the victim, walked into the police department to report that her husband had threatened to burn down the house, but she said she told police there were no weapons in the house.

The case is the first time Healey has investigated a police shooting since she took office in January, according to Gainey. The attorney general’s office is also investigating an alleged racially motivated beating by Worcester police officer Michael Motyka Dec. 1 in a cell at police headquarters.

The attorney general’s office will also be investigating assault charges filed against Jesse Fernandes, Buckley’s 22-year-old son, who was accused of assaulting officers after returning from the hospital. Family members and a neighbor said Fernandes was punched in the face while trying to find the officer who killed his father.

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Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.