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DA Harrington pledges to release report, underlying evidence collected during investigation into police shooting of Miguel Estrella

Harrington speaks

Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington said her office is committed to transparency in the investigation of the police shooting of Miguel Estrella.

PITTSFIELD — District Attorney Andrea Harrington has pledged to release a report and underlying documentation including witness interviews and video collected in connection with her office's investigation into the fatal shooting of Miguel Estrella by an unidentified Pittsfield police officer. 

Harrington told The Eagle that her office is performing a "very thorough investigation" into the fatal shooting. 

She detailed the types of evidence she said investigators will review in the course of the investigation, evidence she said will be subject to public disclosure when the investigation is complete. She did not offer a timeline as to when the investigation will wrap up.

"When that investigation is completed, all of the materials that we review will be subject to public records requests and will be available to the public," she said.

"There'll be reports of witness statements. There'll be actual video recordings of witness statements. They'll be normal recordings of the 911 transmissions calls, those will all be transcribed as well. There'll be other reports, forensic testing reports, and surveillance. It will all be provided," Harrington added. 

Miguel Estrella at job site

Miguel Angel Estrella was shot and killed March 25 by a Pittsfield police officer who responded to Estrella's home. Police say he was shot after approaching officers with a knife. Friends say he was suffering from depression and had been drinking. 

When state police attached to Harrington's office conclude their investigation, Harrington said the office will compile the findings in a written report that will also be released publicly. 

"That will all be made available to the public, and I will certainly be available for questions," Harrington said. "We want this to be a very transparent process."

Harrington said state police attached to her office are conducting a criminal investigation into the use of force.   

Estrella, 22, of Pittsfield, was shot and killed by an unidentified Pittsfield police officer on March 25. His death has sparked anger by members of the community who are mourning his loss and questioning why police used lethal force. 

Police first responded after getting a report that a man with a history of mental illness had injured himself at 279 Onota St. After arriving shortly before 10 p.m., officers determined that the man had cut his face intentionally and they called for medical help on his behalf before leaving Estrella with his girlfriend. 

Within minutes, police were called back to the address, according to a previous statement from the DA's office, and the caller said Estrella “needs to be taken to the hospital."

When police responded, officers encountered Estrella, who had a knife, according to the statement and an eyewitness. The DA's office said Estrella “advanced” on officers.

The officers twice tried to incapacitate him with Tasers, to no avail, and one of the officer shot Estrella twice.

Both officers involved are on administrative leave, according to Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn, and their names are being withheld pending the preliminary report of the internal Force Investigation Team.

He said a mental health co-responder ended their shift minutes before police received the first call from Estrella's address.  

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

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