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Pittsfield man killed by police after advancing on officers with a knife has been identified

Miguel Estrella, 22, reportedly had a history of mental illness

  • Updated
police tape on woodbine ave

A state police vehicle is parked along Woodbine Avenue near Onota Street in Pittsfield early Saturday with the remnants of police tape nearby. Police fatally shot a man late Friday after he "advanced" toward officers while holding a knife.

PITTSFIELD — A man who advanced on Pittsfield police officers with a knife was fatally shot Friday night outside an Onota Street home after attempts to subdue him failed, authorities said.

Miguel Estrella, 22, died just before midnight after being taken to Berkshire Medical Center, according to a statement released Saturday afternoon by the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office.

State police have launched a criminal investigation into the use of 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.

“The subject was left in the care of his girlfriend, who agreed to remain with him for the night,” according to a statement released early Saturday by Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn.

Within minutes, police were again called to the address, a mile northwest of the city center, because the man was said to be causing a disturbance. The caller stated that Estrella “needs to be taken to the hospital,” the DA’s statement said.

Police officers encountered Estrella, who was armed with a knife, according to the statement, which noted an eyewitness confirmed that Estrella had a knife in his hands at the time.

Estrella then “advanced” on officers, who twice used Tasers in a bid to incapacitate him. They were unsuccessful, which prompted one of the officers to fire a handgun at Estrella, hitting him twice.

Officers attempted lifesaving measures and called emergency medical services, the department said. Police were alerted by the hospital at 11:20 p.m. that Estrella had died.

“I send my deep condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Estrella for their loss,” District Attorney Andrea Harrington said in her statement. “The State Police Detective Unit is conducting a thorough investigation to determine exactly what happened that led to this tragic death.”

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy on Sunday. The detective unit is conducting an investigation that follows standard protocols in officer-involved shootings, the statement said. The State Police Crime Scene Services and Firearms Identification Section are assisting.

Both officers were placed on administrative leave, according to Wynn, and their names are being withheld pending the preliminary report of the internal Force Investigation Team.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the State Police Detective Unit at 413-499-1112.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Managing editor for innovation

Larry Parnass joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.

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