By Associated Press
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. - A 38-year-old man pulled a pellet gun on police officers moments before they fatally shot him in the hallway of a New Bedford rooming house, authorities said on Friday.
Lamont Cruz, whose criminal record includes convictions for manslaughter and armed robbery, was shot at 7:30 p.m. Thursday inside at 60 Thomas St., police said. He was pronounced dead a short time later at St. Luke's Hospital.
"There was a struggle and Lamont pulled a gun from his waistband. At some point, Lamont Cruz was shot by the police," New Bedford Police Chief Ronald Teachman said at a news conference on Friday.
Officers Arthur Hegarty and Justin Kegan had been to the rooming house in recent weeks and made arrests on drug and gun charges, Teachman said. They stopped at the address Thursday night "proactively checking on a problem property," he said.
A warrant for Cruz' arrest was issued Monday for a parole violation, Teachman said. Cruz did not live at the rooming house, however.
The Bristol County district attorney's office is investigating the shooting. Hegarty and Kegan, both of whom have been officers for two years, were placed on paid administrative duty as a matter of course.
Police displayed a pellet gun similar to the one Cruz allegedly pulled on the officers.
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"What's important here is what does it look like, what it can be perceived as, rather than what its ballistic capability is," Teachman said.