Report: Officers Were Shot, Wounded in Fatal Encounter with Suspect

BOSTON, Aug. 21, 2015—An armed gunman opened fire on two plainclothes Boston Police officers in the moments before he was killed during a Dorchester gunfight, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in his final report on the fatal shooting of Roudy Hendricks.

The report summarizing the sequence of events in the Aug. 7, 2013, incident was released today after Conley and the lead prosecutor on the case met with Hendricks’ family to explain their finding that “Officer [Harry] Jean’s discharge of his service weapon in return was a reasonable and lawful exercise of self-defense and defense of another against Mr. Hendricks’s armed assault.”

In addition to providing a factual explication and legal analysis of the incident to Hendricks’ family, Conley provided them with a complete copy of his investigative file on the case. The file is also being made available to Boston’s media for an additional layer of independent review.

The investigation revealed that Jean and another officer were in plainclothes travelling in an unmarked vehicle while assigned to the District B-3 Drug Control Unit shortly before 1:45 pm. As they travelled northbound on Dorchester Avenue, they observed Hendricks and another man opening doors and peering into various stores while walking southbound on the same street. When the officers took notice of this behavior and slowed briefly, Hendricks and the second man glared at them.

Realizing a short time later that they had passed Shepton Street, which they were looking for, the officers reversed direction and took a left onto Shepton Street. As they did so, Hendricks and his associate backtracked and followed them. The second officer, who was driving, stopped in the middle of Shepton Street and began to back up as Hendricks and his associate continued toward and past them.

After making eye contact with the officers, Hendricks and the second man raised their shirts to reveal handguns in their waistbands. The second man threw out his hands in a threatening or taunting gesture. Recognizing the two men to be armed, Jean and his partner exited their vehicle, drew their service weapons, and announced themselves as police officers. Hendricks’ associate immediately fled on foot. Hendricks, however, opened fire.

Both officers were struck by the gunfire, as was a commercial vehicle travelling northbound on Dorchester Avenue at this very moment. The passenger’s side window of that truck shattered and both occupants sustained minor injuries from the flying glass but were not struck by bullets.

Jean’s partner, who had taken cover behind a vehicle, did not fire. Jean returned fire from two locations, striking Hendricks three times. Hendricks was transported to Boston Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.

Jean and his partner gave voluntary, tape-recorded, post-Miranda statements. The contents of those statements were consistent with the physical evidence at the scene, surveillance footage captured by a camera at a nearby business, and recorded statements by multiple civilian witnesses.

The 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Graham v. Connor explained that “the calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving – about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.” The right to self-defense is not limited to law enforcement officials, however: Conley’s office has declined to charge five homicides in the past seven years because the civilians involved used lethal force reasonably and lawfully to protect themselves against the threat of death or serious bodily injury.

In light of all the facts and circumstances in this case, Conley wrote, “Officer Jean’s decision to return gunfire, after being shot and while under continued assault, was a lawful and reasonable exercise of self-defense and defense of his fellow officer. Accordingly, I have determined that criminal charges are not warranted.”

Conley’s office investigated the incident under Ch. 38, Sect. 4, of the Massachusetts General Laws, which establishes that, in “cases of unnatural or suspicious death,” including police-involved deaths, “the district attorney or his law enforcement representative shall direct and control the investigation of the death and shall coordinate the investigation with the office of the chief medical examiner and the police department within whose jurisdiction the death occurred.”




All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.