Report: Officer acted ‘lawfully’ in shooting armed man
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts police officer who shot and killed an armed man who claimed to have a bomb “acted reasonably and lawfully” and will not face criminal charges, investigators said Friday.
Officer Paul Cyr, a two-decade veteran of the Worcester Police Department, shot Phet Gouvonvong, 31, on April 21, according to the report from the office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr.
Gouvonvong was wearing body armor, armed with an AR-15 rifle, and carrying a backpack, authorities said. He had called 911 to say that he was heading to the police station with a bomb and that another bomb was placed in an undisclosed location in the city.
During negotiations he said he was going to the police station because “you guys” are killing Black people and “you guys just shot a 16-year-old girl,” according to the investigation.
He was shot after an 82-minute standoff during which he refused to surrender, disarm or comply with any police orders and as he walked toward a gas station with live pumps.
Cyr could see civilians and other officers at the gas station and “believed that if the suspect were to detonate the bomb at the fuel pumping stations, igniting the fuel, the resulting damage would be devastating,” the district attorney’s report said.
Cyr fired several rounds after consulting with a supervisor and telling Gouvonvong “No, don’t do that,” the report said.
Two rounds missed, but Gouvonvong was struck in the chest and head. An autopsy determined that the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head.
Members of the the state police bomb squad determined that the device was two road flares with batteries and wires attached to a wrist watch. No other explosive device was found.
Gouvonvong’s sister told police that her brother had a history of psychiatric treatment, did not take his prescribed medications, had become heavily involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, and had been “brainwashed” by a quasi-religious and violent podcast he frequently listened to.