The Brigham and Women's Hospital valet injured in a shooting earlier this month was struck by a Boston police officer's bullet, and the weapon the original suspect brandished was not a working firearm, authorities said Tuesday.
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins released preliminary details surrounding the Feb. 7 shooting of a valet outside the prestigious Boston hospital and showed surveillance video of the incident at a noontime press conference.
The initial shooting occurred right outside the hospital, leading to a police chase that ended in a violent crash and the suspected gunman's fatal shooting by police.
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Rollins said the hospital originally called 911 at 9:19 a.m. on Feb. 7 to report a person with a gun in the area of 60 Fenwood Road. The call was made after an interaction between the person and a hospital security officer during which the suspect, later identified as Juston Root, 41, of Mattapan, allegedly displayed a weapon in his waistband and threatened the officer.
Officers arriving at the scene confirmed with hospital security that the suspect had pulled a gun on the security guard, Rollins said. About a minute later Root pulled a weapon and began to chase two other security guards walking down Vining Street toward Fenwood Road. He then allegedly stopped his chase and began directing police up Vining Street in an effort to deflect police attention.
Root then encountered a Boston police officer who observed a gun in his waistband, the district attorney said. The officer ordered Root to stop and then removed his own weapon, pointed it at the officer and began to pull the trigger. A second officer witnessed this and discharged his weapon as well.
Root, who was injured by a shot fired by a police officer, then jumped in his Chevy Volt which was parked in the middle of the street and fled up Route 9 into Norfolk County.
Rollins said a hospital valet was also struck in the eye by a bullet and sustained serious injuries.
No one else was hurt in the incident, which spanned multiple municipalities. The chase ended on Route 9 on the border of Brookline and Newton.
Rollins said further investigation revealed that the weapon recovered on scene in Norfolk County which Root had brandished was not a working firearm, but a replica, meaning the valet was struck by a bullet discharged by a Boston police officer.
"I would best describe it as a replica firearm," Rollins said.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross added that the events unfolded quickly.
"Things happened within a matter of seconds, and I can honestly tell you that it is not the intent of any police officer when they start their tour of duty... to be involved in an officer-involved shooting that may end in a fatality," Gross said. "We're human too, and quite frankly you can see that officer was definitely in fear of his life."
Rollins did not comment on what happened in Norfolk County, as it was outside her office's jurisdiction.
The Brigham and Women's Hospital valet was critically injured in the shooting, but was later upgraded to good condition. His current condition is not known.
Rollins said she met with the valet on Tuesday morning to wish him a speedy recovery and to update him on her office's findings. She said she also met with the Root family and their attorney to offer her condolences.
Gross, who also met with the valet, said he's "grateful that he's alive and in good spirits."
Rollins said her office's investigation is still ongoing and it could be "many months" before a final determination is made.
"My job when we investigate a discharge by an officer is, what did they know in that moment as they were entering a scene that was tense and escalating," Rollins said.
Brigham and Women's Hospital also issued a statement Tuesday thanking law enforcement who responded to their campus on Feb. 7.
"We are immensely grateful for their commitment to protect and serve our community," said Dr. Betsy Nabel, president of Brigham Health.