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NEWTON, Mass. (AP) — Police had “no reasonable alternative” when they shot and killed a Massachusetts man experiencing a mental health crisis who ran toward officers with a knife held in his raised hand last year, a judicial inquest into the shooting has found.

Judge Jeanmarie Carroll in her findings made public late Tuesday by the Middlesex district attorney’s office found that police officers involved in the Jan. 5, 2021, shooting of Michael Conlon in Newton were not criminally responsible for his death.

District Attorney Marian Ryan in a statement said her office has adopted the findings of the inquest and will not pursue criminal prosecution.

An attorney for Conlon’s family said Wednesday that the family had no immediate comment regarding the report, but may later in the week.

Police responded to a candy store in the city just west of Boston after getting a 911 call from the owner reporting a man armed with a knife in the store. The man, identified as Conlon, lived in an apartment above the store and was a regular customer, according to the report. The owner said he was always respectful and had never been a problem.

On this occasion he was holding what appeared to be a kitchen steak knife and appeared “rattled and unhinged,” the report said. She called 911.

Officers as well as a clinician with mental health expertise responded to the scene, although the clinician did not enter the building because of safety concerns.

Police found Conlon in a the third-floor hallway of the building. Officers at first tried negotiating with him, and tried using a less-than-lethal bean bag gun, but it malfunctioned, the report said.

Conlon, holding the knife at shoulder level, ran toward an officer and “started to bring it down in a stabbing motion,” the report said.

Two Newton police officers, identified in the report as Richard Benes and Francis Scaltreto, fired their service weapons and a Massachusetts State Police trooper deployed a stun gun, the report said. Conlon was struck multiple times and transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, the report said.

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and police Chief John Carmichael in a joint statement called Conlon’s death tragic and expressed sympathy for his family.

An inquest is a judicial proceeding intended to determine the facts surrounding a death and whether a crime occurred. It is closed to the public, but the parties involved are allowed to attend.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.