On February 7, 2020, Juston Root was in the area of Massachusetts Mental Health Center next to Brigham and Women's Hospital. The Boston Police received a call from hospital security reporting a person who allegedly had a gun. When officers arrived, one officer immediately engaged Juston. Juston had a psychiatric disability which prompted him to yell to the officer multiple times, that he was with law enforcement. The officer drew his gun while Juston's back was turned away from him. When Juston turned around and saw the officer, he removed a clear, plastic, oversized paintball gun from his waistband. Two officers began shooting at close range—injuring Juston and hitting a nearby hospital parking valet in the head just a few blocks from the Mental Health Center that he frequented throughout the last eight years of his life.
Juston limped to his car after being shot and slowly drove away. The Boston Police followed Juston, engaging in a pit maneuver and prompting a high speed chase. Minutes later, Juston's car crashed. He staggered out and dropped to the ground. A former EMT was passing by and ran to give Juston aid. She observed that he was covered in blood, struggling to breathe, and lying on the ground in a semi-comatose state.
Moments later, Boston Police arrived and ordered the former EMT assisting Juston to move away. One officer then kicked Juston, and six officers shot Juston with 31 bullets at close range. Juston's pulseless body was then transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Juston posed no conceivable threat to the officers: He had not brandished any weapon and had nothing in his hands.
The Norfolk County District Attorney exonerated the six officers just one month later. Critical evidence and important witness statements were left out of the final report, including details from the former EMT's observation of Juston's condition before he was killed. The police have not released any footage of the actual shooting. Only one responding officer had a body camera actively recording; however, the recording goes dark just before the six officers began shooting Juston.
The Norfolk County District Attorney's report is wholly inadequate and far from transparent.
The Root family and the public demand a timely, thorough, and transparent independent investigation into Juston's death by an impartial investigator.
As Juston lied injured and bleeding, a former EMT was not afraid to rush to his side to render aid.