Pittsfield Officer Cleared in Officer-Involved Shooting Death
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The district attorney has determined that Office Christopher Colello will not be charged with a crime in the shooting of Daniel Gillis in September.
Colello shot and killed 36-year-old Daniel Gillis on Taylor Street on Sept. 1, 2017. 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."
"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," Capeless said in a statement.
"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."
Capeless went on to say, "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."
Police responded that afternoon to a reported domestic incident. According to police, Gillis had initially barricaded himself in the house and was armed with a knife. He was said to be distraught and intoxicated, according to Capeless. Authorities said he exited the home and charged at officers while refusing to drop the weapon.
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 Streit after a police pursuit. Streit was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case.
The investigation of the Gillis incident was conducted by the state police detective unit assigned to the berkshire district attorney's office, assisted by the state police's Firearm Identification and Crime Scene Services sections, chemists assigned to the State Police Crime Laboratory, the Berkshire County sheriff's department and the Pittsfield Police Department.