BPD Officers Who Shot Roxbury Man Said to Be Acting in Self Defense

Authorities have decided not to charge Boston police officers with the fatal shooting of Ross Batista, 38, of Roxbury.

An independent review of the evidence showed the two responding officers were acting in self defense, authorities said. Batista was killed in June 2013 after exchanging gunfire with a pedestrian.

A press release from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office below.

July 25, 2014

Investigation Reveals Man Fired on Rival, Officers Before Fatal Shooting

(BOSTON) — The Suffolk County District Attorney’s independent review of the fatal shooting of Ross Batista by Boston Police revealed that Batista possessed two handguns, had earlier exchanged shots with a rival and had just fired on responding officers during the encounter on Willowwood Street.

District Attorney Daniel F. Conley notified Boston Police Commissioner William Evans and the public of his findings after prosecutors met with Batista’s family to explain the results of the investigation and inform them that the evidence did not support criminal charges against either of the involved officers. Prosecutors also informed the Batista family that they, their lawyer and the media would have full access to the investigative file if they wished to review the facts and evidence.

The investigation revealed that Batista was with a relative inside a car on Willowwood Street at about 1:00 in the morning on June 2, 2013, when he became engaged in an intense argument with a pedestrian. He drew a pistol and exchanged gunfire with that person. At that moment, Boston Police were in the area for another call – a fight that was soon upgraded to shots fired.

When these officers heard the gunfire, they ran toward it and came upon Batista and his relative inside their vehicle. As they approached, another man ran up and indicated that one of the occupants of the car had shot at him. The officers ordered Batista to show his hands and get out of the car. Batista – who was wearing latex gloves and seated in the front passenger’s seat – ignored those orders.

Batista jumped into the back seat of the car and made statements indicating that the officers would “have to shoot me.” He then said, “F*** it, I’m coming out.”

The investigation showed that Batista retrieved a .38 caliber revolver from the front seat. Officers around the car shouted that he had a gun. One officer fired through the windshield at him, hitting Batista in the torso. Batista nonetheless was able to exit the car and fire on the officers, who were now retreating. He fired at least two rounds in the direction of two officers. A third officer fired on Batista, hitting him again in the front torso and left arm. In addition to the .38 that Batista fired, investigators recovered a second loaded handgun from the front passenger’s side area of the vehicle.

“Our thorough review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mr. Batista determined that [the officers involved] fired in self-defense and defense of each other and [a third officer] after Mr. Batista ignored verbal commands to stop reaching for a gun and then drew it in a manner that represented a lethal threat to the officers,” Conley wrote to Evans. “In the course of that encounter, after firing at a civilian, Mr. Batista pointed one firearm, had easy access to another, and fired multiple rounds at the officers, in total disregard for the safety of dozens of other citizens in the area. I have thus concluded that the officers involved acted reasonably and lawfully and that, therefore, no criminal charges are warranted.”

The investigation was led by Assistant District Attorney Edmond Zabin, chief of the DA’s Homicide Unit.

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