By Jonathan Phelps
---- — The Salem News has filed formal requests with the district attorney’s office seeking access to police reports on the shooting of Scott Kehoe, a 37-year-old Danvers man who was killed by police last Thursday night.
Kehoe, of 5113 Kirkbride Drive, was shot by police after he lunged at them with a knife, according to officials.
Few details have been released about the circumstances, however, and the district attorney’s office has refused to identify the police officers involved, say how many shots were fired, or provide any information about the nature of Kehoe’s injuries or the details of what went on that night. A spokeswoman for the district attorney has said the information is being withheld because the matter remains under investigation.
Public records requests were filed yesterday by both a Salem News reporter and by Peter Caruso, the attorney for The Salem News. The requests will be handled by David O’Sullivan, an attorney who works with public records requests for the district attorney’s office. The office has 10 days to respond, according to state law.
“In the event that you fail to comply with this request in the time provided by law, I intend to pursue the rights of The Salem News in all administrative and legal remedies,” Caruso wrote.
Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office, issued a statement yesterday that said:
“We believe that the release of the identities of material witnesses while the investigation is ongoing could potentially jeopardize the integrity of the investigation. This falls squarely within the investigatory exemption of the Massachusetts Public Records Law.
“The district attorney strongly believes that the public must be informed about what happened and who was involved in this incident and will, as he has already stated, make a full and comprehensive report to the public and the media upon completion of the investigation.”
What the district attorney’s office has reported to date is that police were called to the apartment, in a complex on the former Danvers State Hospital property, on a report of an assault and were also attempting to serve court warrants on Kehoe.
Kehoe made repeated attempts to stab at them with a knife and ignored orders to drop the knife. When he lunged toward officers with the knife, they shot him, law enforcement officials have said.
The officers — four Danvers police officers and a state trooper — have been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation, in accordance with department policy, Monahan said.
Kehoe, who was a longtime Peabody resident before moving to Danvers, had struggled for years with mental illness and substance abuse, a family friend confirmed. He had had prior scrapes with the law and most recently was charged with kidnapping and home invasion in South Boston and resisting arrest in Danvers.
Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.