BOSTON (CBS) – The WBZ I-Team took a closer look at the gunman who wounded Boston Police Officer John Moynihan in Roxbury last week.
Angelo West, 40, also shot at police 14 years ago. Suffolk County prosecutors initially hoped West would still be in prison for the 2001 incident when he fired his gun at officers during a violent struggle in Boston’s Theater District.
According to court documents, that encounter escalated after a state trooper believed he witnessed a drug deal in the early morning hours of July 23, 2001.
State Trooper Kevin Murray eventually detained West with the help of Boston police officer William Griffiths, but not before a lengthy struggle where West fired his gun.
As the officers tried to wrestle the gun out of West’s hand, court documents said, “Officer Griffiths told West that he would shoot him, to which West responded, ‘I don’t care, shoot me.’”
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Court records reviewed Monday by the I-Team show prosecutors wanted to convict West as an “armed career criminal,” which would have carried a longer prison sentence.
An indictment for the 2001 criminal charges listed West’s previous convictions: an assault with a dangerous weapon in 1992; possession of a firearm in 1995; and drug dealing near a school in 1997.
Those three convictions would have meant a mandatory 15 to 20-year sentence, according to the Armed Career Criminal (ACC) statute.
However, prosecutors ultimately did not pursue the ACC sentence. Court records show that part of the charge was dismissed after a jury found West guilty in 2003.
The I-Team asked for an explanation for the dismissal. Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, said it turned out the 1995 possession of a firearm conviction did not meet the legal threshold to be included in the ACC argument.
As a result, West’s prison stint likely would not have differed from the 10-year sentence the judge ultimately imposed, Wark said.
From prison, court records also show West made lengthy appeals to win a new trial, arguing ineffective counsel and unlawful search and seizure. The judge denied those legal efforts.
In an affidavit obtained by the I-Team, West said he had been shot 13 times over the course of his life.
“In 1994, I got into a fight with a guy who after the fight came back and shot me 9 times in my leg, stomach, back and buttocks. I still have a bullet lodged in my hip,” West’s affidavit read.
West also claimed his gun accidentally discharged as he was tackled to the ground by officers in the 2001 incident.
West was released in July 2011 and completed his probation last August. He also spent two years in prison for the 1992 conviction.
Officer Moynihan continues recovering in the hospital after surgery to remove a bullet that was lodged near his ear.