July 29 – The police murder of a Pittsfield man last June was “legally justified,” the attorney general concluded after an investigation.
The Attorney General’s office has released the results of its investigation into the shooting by police of Anthony Hannon, 52, of Pittsfield, and found that the six officers who shot Hannon nine times were justified by their use of deadly force.
The report of the investigation, released Thursday, details how Hannon came to a standstill with police at his home on June 14, 2021.
On June 13, 2021, according to the report, a woman filed a complaint with the Pittsfield Police Department alleging that Hannon sexually assaulted her when she was a child. The woman who made the report was identified only as a member of Hannon’s family.
In the early morning hours of June 14, Hannon’s family learned of the investigation. They told Hannon that the police were investigating the assault allegations and told Hannon that they thought the police were on their way to Hannon’s house.
Police didn’t go to Hannon’s house, the attorney general said, but Hannon was distraught and threatened to kill himself. Police called Hannon around 3 a.m. on June 14, they said, trying to persuade him to turn himself in.
But Hannon said he wouldn’t turn himself in, police said, and wouldn’t let his fiancée and two young children leave the house.
He said he would not leave the house alive and spoke of suicide or provoking the police to shoot him, the report said.
Pittsfield police called Hannon’s fiancée and tried to persuade Hannon to leave the house, they said. Hannon’s fiancé and the kids escaped before 7 a.m.
The Pittsfield Police Department called a SWAT team and negotiators, who called Hannon again.
Police negotiators spoke to Hannon on the phone for nearly 7 hours on June 14, but said Hannon repeatedly said he wanted to kill himself. Police said they were trying to keep Hannon on the phone to try to stop him from committing suicide.
Police said Hannon said he didn’t want to hurt the police officers but wanted to die by suicide, calling it “cop suicide”.
At about 1:20 p.m., Hannon went to his door, his cell phone in one hand and a gun to his head in the other. According to police, Hannon called and asked the officers he saw to shoot him. At the same time, police said Hannon told officers he didn’t want to hurt them, that he “supported” the police.
Hannon at one point dropped the gun from his head and three officers fired beanbags at him, police said, hoping he would drop the gun.
According to the police, Hannon did not drop the gun, but fired at the police in the Bearcat.
An officer in the Bearcat shouted, “He’s shooting at us, he’s shooting at us.”
Officers said they heard a pinging sound from Hannon’s bullet hitting the Bearcat armored vehicle.
At 2:20 p.m., six officers fired at Hannon.
The Attorney General’s report concluded that the officers were fairly fearful for their lives when Hannon fired at the Bearcat, noting how quickly the situation changed.
The report found that the nine officers who shot Hannon — the six firing rifles and three firing beanbags — were all justified by their use of force. None of the officers will be charged.
None of the officers had body-worn cameras, and the only video of Hannon’s death was taken by a neighbor watching through a window.
Hannon was shot nine times, an autopsy found: five times in the back and buttocks, and four times in his arms and legs.
The six officers estimate that they fired at Hannon a total of 50 or more times.
A toxicology report found only caffeine, nicotine and blood pressure medications in Hannon’s body.