WORCESTER (CBS) – A state trooper shot and killed a driver in Worcester early Thursday morning after the man allegedly drove a car at him.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports
It started just after midnight, when the unidentified trooper first spotted a stolen Honda near Murray Avenue and Chandler Street. The car was reported stolen Tuesday from nearby Leicester.
The trooper tried to pull over the driver, 43-year-old Victor Davila of Worcester, but he kept going into a parking lot.
State police say Davila continued to evade the trooper, who then stepped out of his cruiser.
Davila then allegedly drove towards the trooper and the trooper fired one shot at the car.
“I could see the car rolling towards him, so he, in my eyes and in my point of view, he acted the way he should have acted and did the right thing. I don’t think he had a choice,” witness Brian Trigiano told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
Davila was shot in the stomach. The car crashed into a pole. The driver was rushed to a hospital, where he died.
“Preliminary information, which is supported by evidence at the scene, suggests the trooper was put in fear for his safety by the suspect and the suspect’s motor vehicle,” State police spokesman Dave Procopio said in a statement.
But Davila’s family is questioning the use of deadly force. One relative accuses the trooper of overreacting.
“Nobody needs to get shot over a stolen car,” said Luis Carmona.
State police have not released the name of the trooper yet. However, Procopio said he just joined the force and completed his training back in March. He then went through a three-month “break-in” period, which concluded in June. He works the overnight shift out of the Holden Barracks.
“He’s probably been on the job a couple of months. I don’t know if he had backup or called for backup,” said Carmona, who describes Davilla as a father of two young girls who was trying to turn his life around, but had no history of violence.
“I miss him. He’d give you the shirt off his back,” he said.
A woman who was in the car ran off before the shooting and has not been found, police said. She left her flip-flops behind and ran away from the scene barefoot.
The trooper was placed on administrative leave for several days, which is standard procedure in these type of incidents.
“The Office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early will ultimately review the evidence and determine if the the use of deadly force was justified under the law,” Procopio said.
According to the State police use of force guidelines, troopers cannot shoot at a moving vehicle “unless an occupant uses or threatens to use immediate lethal force.”
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano contributed to this report. You can follow her on Twitter @BethWBZ