Officer in fatal shooting will not be charged
Inquiry finds gun fired accidentally
FRAMINGHAM — A Framingham police officer lost his balance and fell during a drug raid in January, causing him to accidentally shoot and kill a 68-year-old resident of the house who was not a target of the raid, an investigation by the Middlesex district attorney’s office and State Police has determined.
The officer, Paul Duncan, will not face criminal charges.
Framingham police detectives and members of the Framingham police SWAT team converged on 26 Fountain St. at about 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 5 to execute a search warrant issued in support of a narcotics investigation. Eurie Stamps lived in the house with his wife, Norma Bushfan, the mother of Joseph Bushfan, then 20, a suspect in the drug investigation.
During the raid, police found Stamps inside the house and told him to get on the ground on his stomach, which he did. Later, Duncan attempted to handcuff and search Stamps, and “as he stepped to his left, he lost his balance, and began to fall backwards,’’ Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said in a statement yesterday.
“While falling, Officer Duncan removed his left hand from his rifle, which was pointing down towards the ground, and put his left arm out to try and catch himself. As he did so, he heard a shot,’’ the statement said.
Leone said that as soon as Duncan realized what happened and saw that Stamps was bleeding, he yelled “man down, man down,’’ and a medical team immediately came to Stamps’s aid. He was pronounced dead at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham.
Duncan’s actions “do not rise to the level of criminal conduct’’ and “do not support a criminal charge,’’ the statement said.
Stamps was a retired MBTA bus mechanic, according to a family obituary.
“My sincerest condolences go out to Mr. Stamps’s family and many friends for what is an extremely tragic and sad incident,’’ Leone said.
The conclusions did not satisfy Stamps’s family members, whose lawyers said yesterday they are launching their own civil rights investigation.
Anthony Tarricone, a lawyer representing the four adult children of Stamps, called the report a “woefully inadequate explanation for the shooting of an unarmed innocent man in his own home at 12:30 a.m.’’
“Eurie Stamps’s death was the result of a fundamentally unjustifiable shooting by law enforcement officers who are charged with protecting the public safety,’’ he said. “Mr. Stamps’s civil rights were surely violated, and those who are responsible must be held accountable for his death.’’
Tarricone said that Stamps was shot in the face.
The lawyers for the family said that the investigation left several questions unanswered, including why a SWAT team raided the home of an elderly couple.
“Sadly, there’s nothing that can return Mr. Stamps to his family or satisfy the enormous loss they will forever suffer,’’ said attorney Tony Fugate, who is representing Stamps’s widow. “But they are rightfully and firmly committed to seeking justice for their father and husband with the hope that such pursuit will help prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.’’
The attorneys have filed a public records request for all investigatory materials used by the district attorney and will “most likely’’ file a civil rights lawsuit in federal court, Tarricone said.
Police arrested Stamps’s stepson, Joseph Bushfan, and his cousin Devon Talbert, 20, of Boston, and charged them with possession with intent to distribute a Class B drug and committing a drug violation in a school zone, after allegedly finding cash and drugs during the raid.
Police obtained a search warrant after an investigation that spanned several weeks and involved a confidential informant who had allegedly purchased crack cocaine from the defendants.
The SWAT team was used because there was information that the suspects had violent histories and that at least one of them was a member of a gang involved in drugs, weapons, and violence, Leone’s office said. There was also information that one of the suspects was a known associate of a man involved in the shooting of Framingham police Officer Phillip Hurton, who was shot twice in the face while chasing an armed robbery suspect in 2009.
Brian Ballou and Lisa Kocian of the Globe staff contributed. John M. Guilfoil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.