Middlesex DA’s office clears Everett officer in January shooting

The following is a statement from The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office regarding an officer-involved shooting that occurred Jan 6 in Everett following a bank robbery and foot pursuit.

The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office have conducted an investigation into the facts and circumstances of a non-fatal shooting by an on-duty officer with a department-issued firearm that occurred on Jan. 6, 2011, on Revere Beach Parkway in Everett.

The investigation into the legal justification of the shooting by the officers included a thorough review of interviews of witnesses at the scene and the responding Somerville Police officers, photographs of and evidence gathered from the scene, ballistics and crime scene forensic information, police radio transmissions and 911 calls, medical information, and police reports and witness statements. That investigation revealed the following facts.

At approximately 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011, Everett Police Officer Thomas Leyne was on a routine patrol in a marked cruiser when he saw a male run across the Revere Beach Parkway and into the Century 21 Bank located at number 1763 on the parkway. Finding this behavior suspicious, the officer pulled into the bank parking lot, circled around the back of the building, and stopped near the exit. He decided to wait there and watch the bank entryway. Moments later, the same male the officer saw run into the bank came running out of it at a full sprint. He was later identified as Robert Giannino of Malden.

As Mr. Giannino ran back across Revere Beach Parkway, Officer Leyne activated his cruiser lights and siren and gave chase. He followed Mr. Giannino as he ran around a Valvoline auto repair shop across from the bank, where he stopped his cruiser and began a foot pursuit. As he got out of the cruiser, he saw that Mr. Giannino was carrying a square shaped bag by his side as he continued to run.  The officer drew his gun, yelled for Giannino to stop, and ran after him.

Mr. Giannino continued to run, heading in the direction of an adjacent Wendy’s restaurant. Once there, he jumped into the rear passenger’s side of an SUV that was backed into a parking space.  Officer Leyne ran around the front of the car and positioned himself at the driver’s side front wheel area, near the side mirror and within arms length of the vehicle. From his position he could see directly into the windshield and trained his gun on the driver, later identified as James Chase of Lynn. He yelled loudly and repeatedly at Mr. Chase, telling him not to move and to show his hands.

Ignoring the officer’s commands, Mr. Chase suddenly accelerated ahead. Believing he was about to be killed or seriously injured, Officer Leyne took one step back and fired a single round in Chase’s direction as the SUV peeled away with Mr. Giannino in the back seat. The officer briefly chased the vehicle on foot as it sped off. As he did so he was able to radio his station that shots had been fired and gave a description and the direction of flight of the SUV. Other officers, including state police, responded to the scene and began an investigation into the bank robbery and related police officer involved shooting. It is alleged that Mr. Giannino exited the vehicle prior to it arriving in Saugus, where it was later located by officers.

The injured driver, Mr. Chase, was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was treated and released. Both Mr. Chase and Mr. Giannino have since been charged as a result of the incident.

Upon a completion of this investigation and review of all available information, the conclusion of this office is that the actions of the officer in firing upon the SUV was justifiable under the law to effect the lawful objective of protecting the life of Officer Leyne from a show of deadly force. The actions of the SUV driver placed the life of the officer in imminent danger. The officer who discharged his firearm did so to save his own life and possibly the lives of others in the vicinity of the incident.

Having made our determination under the law regarding the legal justifiability of the shooting by the officer, we have, per protocol, referred the matter back to the Everett Police Department so that they can perform whatever internal administrative review of the incident they deem appropriate.

About Attorney John J. MacLaughlan

John MacLaughlan is Massachusetts licensed attorney as well as a Boston police officer. John is currently assigned to the Youth Violence Strike Force (Gang Unit). He is a graduate of the Massachusetts School of Law with a concentration in Labor Law. He holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell as well as a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. John has taught Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Use of Force, Applied Patrol Procedures, and Police Response to Active Shooters to sworn police officers and police academy recruits. Prior to becoming a Boston Police Officer, John served for 9 years as a police officer in Lowell, where he was a member of the Police Dive Team and Patrol Rifle Team.
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