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Berkshire DA: No Charges In Fatal Police Shooting

This is a picture of the inside of the Pittsfield Police station
Jim Levulis

The Berkshire District Attorney says there will be no charges filed in the fatal shooting of a city man by a Pittsfield police officer in September 2017. 

District Attorney David Capeless says Officer Christopher Colello shot 36-year-old Daniel Gillis after law enforcement responded to a 911 domestic violence call from Gillis’ girlfriend. Capeless says an investigation, which included cellphone video taken by a neighbor, determined Officer Colello acted lawfully in defense when Gillis charged at the officers with a knife.

“Clearly, this was an unfortunate situation which ended tragically," Capeless said in a statement. "The entire incident developed within a short period of time and rapidly escalated when Gillis emerged from the house holding a knife to his throat and advanced upon officers despite their calls to drop the knife.  When Gillis suddenly changed direction and charged at several officers, yelling at them, the situation changed from dangerous to life-threatening. In this case, a cell phone video taken by a neighbor was quite helpful to the investigation, as it showed the incident shortly after Gillis emerged from the rear of the house and included the shooting.  The investigation involved multiple, extended interviews of the many participants and witnesses, but the few seconds of the real-time capture of the event provided the most informative piece of the investigation.”  

The investigation was conducted by the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office. The Massachusetts State Police Firearm Identification and Crime Scene Services Sections, chemists assigned to the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory, the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department and the Pittsfield Police Department also assisted. 

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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