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State trooper pursues motorist and fatally shoots him in Ashby

Man allegedly drove car at him

State Police investigated the scene of a fatal shooting by a trooper on Pine Road in Ashby. State Police investigated the scene of a fatal shooting by a trooper on Pine Road in Ashby. (Paul Kapteyn/ Worcester Telegram & Gazette)
By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Staff / February 23, 2011

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A plainclothes state trooper shot and killed a man who allegedly drove his car at him yesterday in Ashby, a small town in north central Massachusetts.

Authorities said a member of the State Police gang unit discharged his weapon, killing Roger Reyes Padilla, 21, of Fitchburg, on Pine Road around 1:15 p.m.

The trooper, whose name was not released, was conducting surveillance, looking for drug activity in the neighborhood when he noticed suspicious activity from a silver car driven by Padilla, authorities said.

The trooper tried to pull the car over, but the driver fled down the road until he got to a cul-de-sac, State Police said.

The trooper exited his car and stood in front of the suspect’s vehicle, ordering him to get out.

Instead, State Police spokesman David Procopio said, the car lurched toward him, causing the trooper to fire at the driver, mortally wounding him.

“The suspect drove toward the trooper, putting him in fear for his life,’’ Procopio said. “And the trooper discharged his service weapon.’’

State Police would not disclose the type of weapon used or how many shots were fired. Police found drugs at the scene but did not elaborate. Padilla was pronounced dead at the scene, Procopio said. The trooper was not injured, but was evaluated and released at a local hospital, which Procopio said is standard procedure in trooper-involved shootings. The trooper will probably take a few days off before returning to duty, Procopio said.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.’s office and State Police units are investigating.

Melissa A. Williams of Hosmer Road, and her boyfriend, Jari J. Ammesmaki, live around the corner from where the shooting occurred.

Ammesmaki told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette that he heard a siren and saw a police car and a silver car speeding up the road and then heard two gunshots.

“It was definitely a chase,’’ he said. “With the drug activity going on here lately, it doesn’t surprise me. They were definitely up to no good.’’

“We see a lot of drug traffic,’’ Williams told the paper. “We find needles, condoms, everything.’’

Williams also said that she often sees cars with out-of-state license plates driving up and down Hosmer Road, which is a dead-end street.

“I just want to know what is going on,’’ she told the Telegram. “We have a small business here. I’m concerned. We don’t like the drug trafficking.’’

Ammesmaki said that if it turns out that drug dealers were involved, he will be glad the police got them. “You don’t run from the police,’’ he said.

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John M. Guilfoil can be reached at jguilfoil@globe.com.