Police shoot, kill armed robbery suspect in stolen patrol car, ending standoff

Officials said the man had access to a police firearm inside the vehicle

By Mary Whitfill
The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

QUINCY, Mass. — The man shot by police after allegedly robbing a 7-Eleven in Rockland and leading officers on a multi-town chase in a stolen cruiser has died.

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey confirmed Friday that a 36-year-old man died after being shot by a State Police trooper. The man, who reportedly had a police patrol rifle, has not been identified.

A police chase from Rockland to Quincy Friday morning ended at about 9:30 a.m. after a shot was fired by a trooper and the suspect was taken by ambulance to Boston Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Officials say the man robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store in Rockland earlier Friday and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Emergency radio communications in Rockland at about 6:15 a.m. describe the suspect as a white man in a black sweatshirt who just robbed a store at gunpoint. About 45 minutes later, radio communications said police were chasing the suspect on foot in the area of 14 Davis St. A few minutes later, an officer reported that a cruiser had been stolen.

At a Friday news conference, Morrissey said it was unclear how the suspect was able to get into the police vehicle. Inside the SUV was a police patrol rifle.

At about 7:10 am., reports came across the radio of a crash involving an Abington police car during the chase. The Abington department later posted to Facebook that an officer "lost control of his vehicle, striking a utility pole in Rockland and subsequently rolled over. The officer is doing great and we suspect he will be released from the hospital soon."

The crash led police into Weymouth, where emergency radio transmissions relayed the suspect hit two cars at the Mobil gas station near Route 3 about 7:15 a.m., then got on the highway headed to Quincy.

State Police tweeted just before 8 a.m. Friday that an armed robbery suspect stole a Rockland police cruiser, led officers on a chase to Quincy and had stopped on Burgin Parkway, refusing to get out of the car. Crisis negotiators were at the scene.

"Suspect still in vehicle, has moved vehicle to Burgin Parkway in area of Quincy St.," State Police said in a tweet at about 9 a.m. "Vehicle blocked by MSP STOP Team and negotiations ongoing. We will continue to talk to the suspect. We are prepared for a lengthy negotiation."

While the stolen cruiser was surrounded by several police vehicles and a SWAT vehicle on Burgin Parkway, the driver fled again and ran into Stop Stick devices placed by police. Stop Sticks poke holes in a car's tires and slow the vehicle to a stop.

Police officers ran to their vehicles and chased the cruiser before it stopped on Liberty Street near a BJ's Gas Station. The on- and off-ramps at Exit 42 of Interstate-93 were shut down.

A heavy police presence including crisis negotiators convened at the gas station and reporters on scene heard a loud "popping" sound, but could not confirm if it was a gunshot.

Immediately after, at about 9:30 a.m., a person was pulled out of the stolen police cruiser and then rolled into an ambulance while strapped to a stretcher, a live feed from the scene provided by WCVB shows. He was surrounded by armed police officers.

Stolen cruiser

WATCH: The suspect behind the wheel of a stolen Rockland police cruiser was able to move around State Police and take off. Here's the latest: boston25.com/3rni3B2

Posted by Boston 25 News on Friday, March 26, 2021

Morrissey said Friday that the suspect had started to get out of the car with the rifle when a State Police trooper shot him. It was not clear if the rifle was pointed at police.

"I'm not going to get into that at this time," Morrissey said when asked. "It is unfortunate that anybody got shot by anyone, the last thing a police officer wants to do is be involved in a police-related shooting. ... They are faced with an armed suspect and have decisions to make and those decisions will be investigated over the next few days."

When asked why the rifle wasn't locked down in the cruiser, Morrisey also said it was unclear.

"We don't have all the answers at this time, but that will probably be asked during the ongoing investigation," he said. "It was quite evident to police during the negotiations that he had obtained the riffle."

Ten minutes after the ambulance left the scene, State Police said the "situation is over" and confirmed there was no further threat to the public.

Jaycie Zinsner, of Medfield, said she and her mom were headed to an appointment and driving on backroads near the BJ's Gas Station at 8:30 a.m. when police stopped them and ordered them out of their vehicle.

“We were ordered to hide behind police cars,” she said. “We were told, you know, ‘We have to have a lot of metal between you and him.’”

Zinsner said the man was driving a black marked police car with “Rockland” in grey letters on the side.

“I didn’t get a good look at him. I saw his face as he was stopping, but I couldn’t give you a description,” she said.

Zinsner said she was doing “as well as she can.”

The MBTA temporarily suspended red line service between Braintree and Wollaston. Regular service resumed at 10 a.m.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. Material from WCVB, The Patriot Ledger's media partner, and reporter Wheeler Cowperthwaite was used in this report.

This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Report: Robbery suspect dies after police chase, officer shooting

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(c)2021 The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

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