BOSTON (AP) — Two police officers who killed suspects in two unrelated shootings in 2019 acted within the law and will not face criminal prosecution, Boston's top prosecutor said Monday.
The officers’ actions in both cases “were lawful and reasonable exercises of self-defense and/or defense of others," the office of Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said in a statement.
“I am deeply aware of the impact these cases have on everyone involved," Hayden said. “Our office moved forward with all these investigations with the utmost respect for all those affected by these traumatic events. We met with the families of those killed, the officers involved and their respective departments regarding these findings in advance of releasing them to the public. These were thorough, meticulous investigations conducted with one primary goal — to gather and review all the relevant facts."
In one case, Boston Officer William Hull shot Kasim Kahrim in the city's Roxbury neighborhood early Feb. 22, 2019, after Kahrim shot and injured Hull's partner, Officer Mark Whelan, the prosecutor's office said.
The officers spotted Kahrim in a parked, running vehicle with his head on the steering wheel and feared he might be in medical distress, the report said.
The investigation was conducted under Hayden's predecessor, Rachael Rollins. The findings were reviewed and confirmed under Hayden.
“After a careful consideration of the facts and the law, I conclude that Officer Hull acted reasonably and lawfully when he discharged his weapon,” Rollins wrote in the report. “The facts clearly establish that Mr. Kahrim used deadly force upon Officer Whalen, by shooting at and striking him in his right hand, placing both officers in real and immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury.”
In the other shooting, which occurred on Aug. 4, 2019, in Revere, Everett Officer Alex Vieira shot and killed Oscar Ventura-Gonzales after a “dangerous high-speed" vehicle pursuit, according to the investigation.
As police were trying to box in Ventura-Gonzales' vehicle, Vieira got out of his cruiser and ordered the suspect to stop several times, and the suspect drove toward the officer, the report said.
“Officer Vieira's view that Mr. Ventura was trying to run him down was reasonable," the report concluded. “Officer Vieira's decision to fire a single round at Mr. Ventura was, therefore, legally justified as an act of self-defense."