DA identifies suspect killed in officer-involved shooting

DA identifies suspect killed in officer-involved shooting
Photo taken from Juston Root's personal Facebook page

BOSTON — The man fatally shot by police Friday following a shooting at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and police pursuit into Brookline has a history of run-ins with law enforcement, as well as a history of mental illness, Boston 25 News has learned.

A source had initially told 25 Investigates that the suspect is a man named Juston Root. Boston 25 News has learned Root was taken into custody last year by police and had a pellet gun, a switchblade, and a paintball gun at the time.

In a news conference Friday, Boston Police only said he had “what appeared to be a firearm.”

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In a release sent out later in the evening, the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office confirmed the suspect’s identity, adding that Root, 41, is a resident of the city’s Mattapan neighborhood.

Boston Police were called to the hospital Friday morning for reports of an armed person. Police say when they arrived, the suspect allegedly pulled out what appeared to be a gun and pointed it at officers. After a struggle with officers, Root allegedly got into a car and led police on a chase down Route 9 into Brookline where he eventually crashed.

When he got out of the car, police and state troopers ordered him to drop his weapon. When he refused, they fired at him. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

25 Investigates reporter Ted Daniel spoke with Root’s mother Barbara on Friday evening, who told him she has not spoken with authorities yet but she got a call from her daughter that her son, Juston, was the one shot and killed by police Friday.

She told Daniel that Root was living in what she described as a special needs community in Mattapan and he grew up in Jamaica Plain. She says her son has been in and out of hospitals all of his life with mental health issues and his medical history includes bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Daniel asked her what may have happened Friday morning outside of the hospital. She said she simply does not know.

“Repeated hospitalizations over the years,” said Evan Root, father of Juston Root. “He’s lived it since after puberty, he’s lived a rough life dealing with that condition.”

With his family in mourning, Evan Root says he is remembering the goodness his son brought to loved ones.

"He is [a] very creative person, sensitive person and I would say, at heart, a loving person,” Evan Root said.