No charges will be filed against Pittsfield Police officer who shot suspect
PITTSFIELD — It was a clean shoot.
That was the conclusion of an investigation into the police shooting last month of a man accused of assaulting an officer, fleeing a traffic stop and driving his vehicle at police.
"After reviewing the investigatory report, witness statements and the evidence gathered in the case ... no criminal charges are warranted against Officer [Martin] Streit," Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless said in a statement released on Thursday.
Capeless went on to say that because there are still criminal charges pending against Mark A. Marauszwski, the suspect who was shot, it would be "inappropriate" to comment further.
Marauszwski was wounded in his hand, forearm and shoulder as a result of the gunfire, according to the DA's statement.
"On behalf of the department, we appreciate that the investigation was thoroughly and efficiently completed," said Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn. "We look forward to Officer Streit returning to duty."
Streit was placed on temporary light duty after the shooting. Wynn said Streit could be restored to full duty as early as next week, pending a required return-to-duty evaluation.
Marauszwski, 55, is accused of striking an officer with the door of his vehicle during a traffic stop on Jan. 25, and then fleeing, with police in pursuit until the chase ended in Springside Park.
Marauszwski then attempted to drive out of the park's playground area toward Streit, who was out of his vehicle by that time, according to the DA. Streit "repeatedly" ordered Marauszwski before firing.
When Marauszwski ignored the warnings, Streit fired three shots toward the vehicle, two of which hit the windshield, and the third hitting and shattering the front passenger side window.
At Marauszwski's bail hearing, his attorney, Ryan Smith, questioned the official version of the circumstances of the shooting.
Smith said based on the damage to the car and Marauszwski's gunshot wounds, which he said include an entrance wound near the center of his chest and an exit wound under his left arm, the shot that struck Marauszwski may have come through the vehicle's passenger side window.
Smith surmised the shots may have been fired from the side of the vehicle, raising questions whether the car was driving directly at officers at a high rate of speed.
He also said evidence at the park, including the amount of damage to the concrete pillar Marauszwski's car struck after the shooting may suggest the vehicle was not traveling as fast as reported.
Those factors, he said, raise significant questions about whether his client actually committed an assault with a dangerous weapon, one of the charges he faces.
On Thursday, Smith acknowledged the hard work the state police had done in its investigation but said he was "a little surprised the determination that no criminal charges be brought was made so quickly."
"There's a significant quantum of evidence that has yet to be fully developed," Smith said. "The defense is hard at work evaluating the evidence and forensically reconstructing the incident to determine what actually happened here."
The Eagle made a formal request of the DA's office for a copy of the investigative report referenced in Capeless' statement. That request was denied.
"The District Attorney respectfully denies your request because criminal charges have been filed against another person involved in this incident," according to an email sent from Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Pieropan in response to the request. "Consequently, the investigative exemption to the Public Records Law prohibits the disclosure of these reports at this time."
Marauszwski has pleaded not guilty to charges of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license (subsequent offense), failure to stop for police, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and wanton destruction of property.
On Feb. 2, Marauszwski's bail was revoked for 60 days on an open assault and battery case and Judge Michael Ripps left in place the $25,000 bail set at his Jan. 26 arraignment.
Marauszwski was arraigned at Berkshire Medical Center, where he was recovering from the injuries he'd sustained in the shooting.
According to police, prior to Jan. 25, the last time a city officer used deadly force against a suspect was in November 2010. The suspect survived that shooting.
Streit, a nine-year veteran of the department, has received several commendations during that tenure, including one in 2008 for heroic actions, according to Pittsfield Police.
The investigation was led by Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Edward Culver, a member of the state police detective unit assigned to the District Attorney's Office. Culver was assisted by other members of the detective unit and the state police crime scene services and firearms identification sections, forensic scientists from the state police crime lab as well as the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office.
The Pittsfield Police Department cooperated with and assisted the investigation.
Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.
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