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Pittsfield, Mass., Police Officer Will Not Be Charged In Shooting

The police station in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier
The police station in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

A Pittsfield police officer who fatally shot a man during a call last year will not face criminal charges. 

Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless said in a statement that Officer Christopher Colello acted in defense of his fellow officers when Daniel Gillis, 36, charged at them with a knife. 

Initial reports said Gillis was drunk and distraught over losing his job when police responded to his home September 1.

"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," Capeless said. "When Gillis suddenly changed direction and charged at several officers, yelling at them, the situation changed from dangerous to life-threatening.”

The district attorney said cell phone video taken by a neighbor helped in the investigation of 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,” Capeless said.

In an interview with The Berkshire Eagle two months later, Gillis's girlfriend questioned why police had to use deadly force -- pointing out they shot him seven times.

When reached Wednesday by NEPR, Jacquelyn Sykes said via a social media message that she was "pissed" by the decision. 

The officer, Colello, was also cleared of a shooting in Dalton in 2010. In that incident, the suspect survived the shooting.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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