BOSTON (CBS) – Police Commissioner William Evans said Saturday Boston police officer John Moynihan remains in critical condition after he was shot “without provocation” on Friday night in Roxbury.
Evans said at a press conference from the Boston Police Department headquarters that officers approached 41-year-old Hyde Park resident Angelo West’s vehicle without guns drawn and the man opened fire.
According to police, West has a violent criminal history with several gun convictions.
On July 23, 2001, Boston police officer William Griffiths came upon an alleged drug deal involving West on Stuart Street. He and a State Police officer wrestled with West and were able to disarm him but not before he shot at several officers.
No one was hurt in that shooting. West was arrested following the incident.
“A REAL VIOLENT CONFRONTATION”
The police commissioner called the recent incident “a real violent confrontation that was clearly unprovoked by our officers,” and added that there is “excellent video” that shows how the events unfolded.
The shooting took place at about 6:40 p.m. Friday in the area of Humboldt Avenue and Ruthven Street.
Investigators say authorities were in the area because of a previous shooting that took place.
Evans said six officers approached West’s car, but they did not have their guns drawn. At that point, police say West began shooting, hitting Moynihan from point blank range in the face.
As West ran away, police say he continued to shoot at officers and emptied the chamber of his gun before they shot and killed him.
Two other people inside the vehicle were taken out by police. Evans said there were other unrelated charges pending against them.
“VERY LUCKY THAT HE’S STILL WITH US TODAY”
During the shootout, Moynihan, 34, was shot just below the right eye. He remains in critical condition and Evans said the bullet remains lodged near Moynihan’s ear.
“We’re just all very lucky that he’s still with us today,” said Evans.
“He’s a tough kid. He’s going to pull through. I just hope there’s no further damage.”
The six-year officer is currently in a medically-induced coma at Boston Medical Center, WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports.
Moynihan is a member of the department’s Youth Violence Task Force and is a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq.
He was also honored at a White House ceremony where he received the Top Cops Award.
“When the bombs went off on Boylston Street, he was one of the first ones there,” Evans told WBZ, referring to the Boston Marathon bombings. “When Dic Donohue got shot at Watertown, he was one of the first officers to render aid.
“He’s going to pull through. I just hope there isn’t too much damage.”
A middle-aged woman suffered what Evans called a flesh wound to her right arm. The woman was caught in the crossfire, but Evans said he visited with her in the hospital and she is in good spirits.
“UNACCEPTABLE, REPREHENSIBLE BEHAVIOR”
Rev. Mark Scott of the Boston Black Ministerial Alliance spoke at the Saturday press conference and said West’s actions were unacceptable.
“We condemn the behavior of the man who was involved in the shooting. That’s unacceptable, reprehensible behavior,” Scott said.
“This is not about black lives matter. It’s about all the lives in the community matter.”
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said his office will conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.
Conley added that he has already watched video of the shootout, and concurs with Evans’ assessment that West’s actions were part of a “completely unprovoked attack.”
“A HERO FOR OUR CITY”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was not in attendance at the Saturday press conference.
But Saturday afternoon he released a statement regarding the Roxbury shootout.
“My thoughts and prayers continue to be with Officer John Moynihan, his family, friends, the innocent person caught in the crossfire, and the entire community impacted by Friday night’s violence,” said Walsh.
“I have spoken with Officer Moynihan’s family and Commissioner Evans and I am hopeful that under the experienced and talented team at Boston Medical Center the Officer will continue on a strong path to recovery. It is clear that Officer Moynihan is a hero for our city, and the entire nation, and today we are thankful for all of those who put their lives on the line every day to protect us.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports