your connection to The Boston Globe

Slaying suspect sues FBI over shooting

Was wounded during arrest

SPRINGFIELD - The man accused of killing mobster Adolpho "Big Al" Bruno has sued an FBI agent for shooting him in the back during his arrest while he was handcuffed and lying face down on the floor.

Prosecutors say that Frankie Roche fled the state after shooting Bruno in a parking lot in 2003. FBI agents tracked Roche through several states before arresting him in Tampa, Fla., in August 2004.

Roche was shot in the back after being subdued by agents. The FBI ruled that the shooting was accidental.

"While handcuffed and face down on the floor and in no way resisting arrest, an FBI agent . . . discharged a bullet into Mr. Roche's back," according to a civil lawsuit filed earlier this summer in federal court in central Florida.

"The bullet passed through Mr. Roche's abdominal cavity, causing severe, life-threatening, and permanent injuries."

Roche, 34, formerly of Westfield, is seeking at least $75,000 in damages, The Republican of Springfield reported. The suit names other Justice Department officials and questions the FBI's hiring and training practices.

Bruno, 57, the head of the local faction of the New York-based Genovese crime family, was killed by a lone gunman as he left his regular Sunday night card game at a Springfield social club. Investigators later charged Roche with being the killer.

Two other men have been charged in Bruno's slaying: Fotios "Freddy" A. Geas, 40, of West Springfield, and Brandon D. Croteau, 29, who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for a 2005 drug trafficking conviction.

Both men have pleaded not guilty. Defense lawyers have criticized the state's case against their clients, saying it hangs solely on Roche's testimony.

The trial for Roche, who has pleaded not guilty to Bruno's killing, was set to start in April, but it was indefinitely postponed after Roche began cooperating with authorities, The Republican reported.

More from