justin root

What to Know About the Brigham and Women's Hospital Valet Shooting

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Police shot and killed a man Friday morning following a confrontation outside a prominent Boston hospital that also left a hospital employee critically injured.

Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Gregory Long says officers opened fire on a suspect they believed had a gun outside Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Long says a hospital parking attendant was critically shot, and that the suspect fled from the scene in a car before crashing a few miles away.

After the suspect ignored multiple commands to drop what appeared to be a firearm, Long says multiple officers discharged their firearms at him, killing him.


Authorities identified the suspect Friday evening as Justin Root, a 41-year-old Mattapan resident.

Root died from his injuries after being taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.


What happened outside the Brigham is a mystery to Root’s father, who also said Friday night that he has no idea why his son was at the hospital in the first place.

Cell phone video recorded near the hospital shows Root stumbling to his car in a chaotic scene, while cell phone video recorded after Root's car crashed at Hammond Street and Route 9 gives a sense of how many shots were fired.

It’s not how Root’s father wants to remember his son.

“He was a beautiful young boy who as he grew up he contracted mental illness, and sometimes that mental illness put him in this paranoid state,” Root’s father said of his son.

Investigators are still piecing together what happened but say Root took off from the hospital after assaulting a Boston police officer, and he led police on a chase that ended near the Newton/Brookline line.

Police say several officers and troopers opened fire, hitting Root after he ignored several orders to drop his weapon.

Root's father says his son "had a paint gun that could have easily looked like a gun, because you can't tell those things from a distance. I don't know the story."

Not knowing is what makes it even harder for Root’s father, as he wonders what and why this happened to his son.

“If I were to put a finger on a feeling, it would be that, I'm very sad,” he said.

The suspect, identified Friday evening as Justin Root, a 41-year-old Mattapan resident, died after being taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.


There was chaos and panic Friday morning amid word of an active shooter at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“Everybody was running here and there and we weren’t sure what was going on,” one eyewitness said.

"I hear three more pop, pop, pop," Justin Heitmann said.

A 49-year-old valet was shot, leaving his coworkers in shock.

Police learned of the valet's shooting at the same time as a confrontation involving Root outside the hospital, in front of Fenwood and Binney.

Heitmann recorded part of the confrontation on his cell phone from the hospital's third floor where he had an appointment.

"Both officers are like 'drop your gun! Drop your gun! Down on the ground! Down on the ground!' And he’s just limping,” Heitmann said.

Authorities say Root took off down Route 9 in a silver sedan, sparking a police pursuit and damaging multiple cars along the way.

“Smash, smash and this car went....it was like Moses parting the waves. He just went through the cars,” Dexter Anderson said.

It all ended when Root's car crashed and he jumped out, allegedly ignoring police commands to drop his weapon before officers shot him.

"I later saw the alleged miscreant being taken from his vehicle and being tended to by the EMTs and being given chest compressions," Anderson said. 

Root was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.


The Norfolk District Attorney's office is investigating. Police are asking any witnesses of either incident to share what they saw or any video they have with investigators at 781-830-4800. The investigation is ongoing.

NBC10 Boston and The Associated Press
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