BOSTON – A man who shot two police officers responding to a report of a domestic disturbance was armed with a tactical shotgun and wearing body armour but didn’t have a gun license, authorities said Thursday.
The officers were responding to a 911 call from a home in the East Boston neighbourhood at about 11 p.m. Wednesday about 33-year-old Kirk Figueroa threatening his roommate with a knife, Commissioner William Evans said.
Two officers entered the home and were shot by Figueroa, who was then shot and killed by other officers, Evans said. Figueroa was not licensed to have a gun in Massachusetts, police said.
The injured officers were identified as Richard Cintolo, a 27-year veteran, and Matt Morris, a 12-year veteran. Both underwent surgery and were in critical condition, but they are recovering, Evans said.
Mayor Marty Walsh said, “Thank God they will be going home sometime soon.”
Police originally said Figueroa was armed with an assault rifle, but Evans later described the weapon as a tactical shotgun. Tactical shotguns typically have shorter barrels and are capable of quickly firing several rounds.
“Domestic calls, as you know, are probably the most volatile. You never really know what you’re walking into,” Evans said. “And I think we see right now the dangers of our job.”
Two police officers in Palm Springs, California, were killed last weekend when they responded to a domestic violence call. Police there said the officers had just asked a man to come out of his family’s home Saturday when he opened fire through a closed front door.
Those killings are the latest in a series of fatal attacks on officers that includes ambushes in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Police towed Figueroa’s car from outside his home Thursday morning. The vehicle was decorated with the name of a website called elitepolicing.org. On the site, a man who identifies himself as Kirk Figueroa says his company, Code Blue Protection Corp., provides police support, fugitive apprehension and extradition services, and armoured car training.
Figueroa described himself as a Boston constable, a former member of a U.S. Army Reserve military police unit, a bounty hunter in California and a former corrections officer. He also said he was trained in mixed martial arts. Constables are authorized to serve subpoenas and other legal documents in civil cases.
An Army spokesman confirmed that Figueroa was in the Reserves but could not provide dates. California authorities said it could not immediately confirm whether he was a bounty hunter.
Figueroa was shot and killed by several other officers who at the sound of gunfire entered the home.
“Two of the officers dragged their fellow officers out of the line of fire so they were in a protected zone, and the officers continued to engage in a gun exchange,” Evans said.
An artery in Morris’ leg was severed, and his life was probably saved by another officer who tied a tourniquet on it, Evans said. That officer had undergone training on how to properly tie a tourniquet just the week before.
Nine other officers were treated at a hospital for trauma, stress and minor injuries.
Police, initially concerned that there might be a second suspect, ordered residents to shelter in place. That order was later lifted.
As is standard protocol following such events, the district attorney’s office said there would be an investigation into the use of deadly force.
“They ran into a firefight here, able to pull two of their officers out safely, and again unfortunately, we had to take a life in doing it,” Evans said.
This story has been corrected to show the suspect’s first name is Kirk, not Kurt, per Boston police correction.