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September 14, 2013

DA: Shooting death by officers was 'justifiable'

DANVERS — The District Attorney’s Office has concluded that last month’s fatal shooting of a Danvers man by police was “justifiable,” and said a witness told officers the man had expressed a desire to commit “suicide by cop.”

The report, released yesterday afternoon, said officers reasonably concluded they were in “imminent danger” from Scott Kehoe, 37, a resident of the Avalon Apartments on Kirkbride Drive, where the shooting occurred just after midnight on Aug. 23.

The report reveals that two officers, Peter Shabowich and Justin Ellenton, shot at Kehoe eight times, and struck him six times. The report said Kehoe had tried to stab a state trooper and a police dog, and ignored commands to drop the knife he was brandishing.

The knife was described as a black-handled kitchen steak knife with a 4-inch blade.

According to friends of his family, Kehoe had struggled with depression and alcohol abuse. He was wanted on default warrants for missing court appearances in two cases.

On the evening of Aug. 22, police got a call shortly before 10 p.m. saying that Kehoe had assaulted a 19-year-old neighbor earlier in the day. Sgt. Paul Stone and patrolmen Dana Martin, Kevin Wood and Shabowich were sent to the apartment.

There, police were told that Kehoe had accused the teenager of stealing headphones belonging to Kehoe’s 13-year-old son. When the teen denied doing so, Kehoe allegedly grabbed him and slammed his head repeatedly into a window and windowsill, struck him with the handle end of a knife, then held the knife to the teen’s neck and went through his pockets, demanding $20. The teen suffered a laceration to the head.

Police concluded there was probable cause to arrest Kehoe on charges that included attempted armed robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

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