BOSTON — The bullet that hit a valet working for Brigham & Women’s Hospital came from a Boston Police officer’s gun, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
The announcement came after an investigation into a police-involved shooting that left the hospital valet seriously hurt and a suspect dead on Feb. 7. Video released shows the moment that officers opened fire on the suspect they though was armed with a real gun.
On the day of the incident, Boston Police and State Police troopers pursued the suspect, Juston Root, 41, into Brookline where he hit multiple cars before crashing in the area of Route 9 and Hammond Street. After crashing, police say Root got out of the car and was ordered to drop his gun, which he allegedly did not drop. Multiple officers, including a state trooper, then fired at Root.
He was taken to Beth Israel Hospital where he died. The incident at Brigham & Women’s prompted an active shooter alert, which was cleared soon after.
The valet was treated at the Brigham but has since been released. The bullet struck him in the head. His family is asking for privacy as the district attorney’s office continues to look into whether Boston Police acted appropriately the morning he was shot.
“We are human too and quite frankly you can see that officer was definitely in fear for his life," said Boston Police Commissioner William Gross.
On Tuesday, Gross and District Attorney Rachael Rollins released video of what led up to the shooting the morning of Feb. 7.
It shows a man, later identified as Root, near the entrance to the hospital with what turned out to be a replica gun.
Rollins said police were called because Root first flashed the fake gun and threatened a security guard then began chasing guards.
“Mr. Root stopped his chase and began to direct police vehicles up vining Street in an apparent attempt to direct attention elsewhere,” Rollins said.
He at one point comes face to face with an officer and points a fake gun at him, and Rollins says began to pull the trigger. That’s when the officer fires several shots. A second officer also fired.
Root was injured in that gunfire, but was able to get in his car and drive away. He ended u pin Brookline where he crashed into several parked cars.
State and local police confronted him there, and fired at him again, this time, killing him.
Rollins said the suspect had a “replica firearm” that was not operational. She also said that the valet bystander was hit by a bullet discharged by a police officer’s gun.
“As you know, this is a complicated, multi-jurisdictional investigation," Rollins said. “The Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police, Newton Police, Brookline Police as well as the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office are all involved.”
“I’d be remiss if I didn’t say Brigham and Women’s Hospital has also been incredibly helpful in this complicated investigation.”
Rollins said the investigation is ongoing and “final determinations may not be made for many months.”
Brigham Health president Betsy Nabel released a statement Tuesday, saying “On behalf of our Brigham family, I want to thank the many members of law enforcement who responded to our campus on Feb. 7. We are immensely grateful for their commitment to protect and serve our community.”
In a news conference on Feb. 7, police announced that the valet team member of Brigham & Women’s had been shot. They said he was left in critical condition, but by the following evening he was stable.
When asked if the hospital employee was shot in the crossfire, Boston Police officials said it was under investigation at the time. Two Boston Police officers had to be evaluated for minor injuries but have since been released from the hospital.
© 2020 Cox Media Group