Pittsfield Officer Cleared in Shooting Death
In a press release received from the District Attorneys office.
District Attorney David F. Capeless announced today that there will be no criminal charges stemming from the September 1, 2017 shooting of a local man by a Pittsfield Police officer. 36 year old Daniel Gillis was shot by Pittsfield Police Officer Christopher Colello, who had responded with other officers to a 911 domestic violence call placed by Gillis’s girlfriend at their residence at 42 Taylor Street in Pittsfield.
District Attorney David Capeless said on Wednesday that Colello:
"acted lawfully in defense of his fellow officers when Gillis suddenly charged at the officers while brandishing a knife."
Capeless also stated,
“I have completed the investigation into the shooting death of Daniel Gillis on the afternoon on September 1, 2017, and I have concluded that there was no criminal behavior on the part of any of the officers of the Pittsfield Police Department. Specifically, I have determined that Officer Christopher Colello acted lawfully in defense of his fellow officers when Gillis suddenly charged at the officers while brandishing a knife.”
“Clearly, this was an unfortunate situation which ended tragically. The entire incident developed within a short period of time and rapidly escalated when Gillis emerged from the house holding a knife to his throat and advanced upon officers despite their calls to drop the knife. When Gillis suddenly changed direction and charged at several officers, yelling at them, the situation changed from dangerous to life-threatening.”
“In this case, a cell phone video taken by a neighbor was quite helpful to the investigation, as it showed the incident shortly after Gillis emerged from the rear of the house and included the shooting. The investigation involved multiple, extended interviews of the many participants and witnesses, but the few seconds of the real-time capture of the event provided the most informative piece of the investigation.”
Colello shot the man seven times and Gillis was later pronounced dead at Berkshire Medical Center. The incident was the second officer-involved shooting involving Colello. He had previously shot a man in Dalton in 2010. It was also the city's second officer-involved shooting in 2017. In January 2017, 55-year-old Mark Marauszwski was shot by Officer Martin after a police pursuit, Streit was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case.
The investigation was conducted by the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office, assisted by the Massachusetts State Police Firearm Identification and Crime Scene Services Sections, Chemists assigned to the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory, the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department and the Pittsfield Police Department.