DA Releases Report on Deadly 2021 Police Shooting in Newton

Michael Conlon, 28, of Newton, was shot in January 2021 after he allegedly entered a candy store with a knife

The Middlesex District Attorney's Office has released the results of its investigation into the deadly shooting of a 28-year-old man by police in Newton in January 2021, which clears the officers involved of any criminal wrongdoing in the incident.

Michael Conlon, 28, of Newton, was shot after he allegedly entered a candy store with a knife.

The incident began on January 5, 2021, when the owner of Indulge! candy store on Lincoln Street called 911 to report a man with a knife around 1:45 p.m., according to the report. The man, since identified as Conlon, lived above the store on the second floor, and was a regular at the store.

According to the report released by District Attorney Marian Ryan Tuesday, on that day Conlon, who the owner said she had no previous problems with, appeared "rattled and unhinged," and kept trying to get her to come upstairs with him.

"Can you please put the knife away? I know you're a nice kid," the store owner can be heard saying on the 911 call released by the district attorney's office. "If you're not trying to scare me, why would you come in with a knife?"

Two Newton police officers arrived at the store, and Conlon fled upstairs to the third floor, according to Ryan. The officers gave chase and called for backup — they arrived in the form of more Newton police officers as well as two Massachusetts state troopers who were stationed nearby.

Ryan's report noted that responding officers were aware that Conlon may be experiencing a mental health crisis and that officers with experience deescalating such situations were at the scene. A clinician with mental health expertise also responded to the scene, but did not enter the building because of safety concerns. A negotiator was requested from the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, but they had not yet arrived when shots were fired.

Police shot a man who was armed with a knife when he entered a candy shop in his building in the Newton Highlands, then fled from officers who were called to help, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said at a news conference, adding that officers tried less-than-lethal methods of subduing him.

Ryan said the preliminary investigation suggested that after Conlon refused verbal commands from police to drop the knife, Newton police tried to subdue him with a less-than-lethal shotgun, then a state trooper used a Taser, without success.

Two Newton police officers fired on Conlon around 2:11 p.m. after he allegedly advanced on them while holding the knife "in a threatening manner," Ryan said. According to the report, the weapons were fired after a non-lethal shotgun failed to fire and subdue Conlon.

He was taken to Newton Wellesley Hospital, where he later died. An autopsy confirmed his cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds.

The Newton officers involved in the incident were placed on temporary paid administrative leave. This report clears them of any criminal responsibility.

"When Officers Benes and Scaltreto fired their weapons, any reasonable law enforcement officer in the same position would reasonably believe that he and his fellow officers as well as others, were in imminent danger of being seriously injured or killed," the report found. "At that moment no reasonable alternative existed, except for the use of deadly force."

The inquest began in December 2021 and finished in January 2022. The Court heard from 19 witnesses and reviewed various evidence.

A person was shot in a police confrontation in Newton Highlands, authorities say.

The shooting led to protests and a call for additional mental health resources, particularly for crisis response, with some saying the deadly shooting was avoidable.

See the full report from the DA's office below:

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