QUINCY (CBS) — An investigation into the deadly police shooting of Eric Leach last March has determined an officer was justified in the use of deadly force. Leach was a suspect in an armed robbery when he then stole a police cruiser in Quincy, leading to a standoff with police.
Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey announced Thursday that the review by his office of the deadly encounter was now complete. Morrisey said the officer’s actions were “justified based upon the totality of the circumstances and the potential for injury, damage, or death to police or civilian bystanders.”
According to Morrissey, the 37-year-old Leach used a handgun to rob a 7-11 convenience store in Rockland at around 6 a.m. on March 26.
Rockland Police caught up to Leach about a half a mile away, where two people reported that a man had tried to get into their homes. Leach was able to get into a Rockland police cruiser and drove at officers, who jumped out of the way.
The stolen cruiser later stopped a little past 7 a.m. on the Burgin Parkway in Quincy, and Leach was quickly surrounded by heavily-armed police. Morrissey said Leach refused to get out of the cruiser, and later freed a loaded police rifle from inside the stolen cruiser.
According to Morrissey, Leach told officers, “I’m not coming out of this vehicle alive, and I’m going to kill myself and every cop here.”
After an hour-long standoff, Leach escaped again, driving around all of the police vehicles. Stop sticks were deployed to flatten the cruiser’s tires. It stopped near the BJ’s Gas Station on the Burgin Parkway, where negotiations began.
After roughly an hour, Leach tried to open his passenger-side door.
“The door began to open,” Morrisey said. “Leach raised the rifle to eye level, consistent with use against others, and one officer fired one round.”
Leach was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead at 10:15 a.m.